Attention modulates 'speech-tracking' at a cocktail party.
ABSTRACT Recent findings by Mesgarani and Chang demonstrate that signals in auditory cortex can reconstruct the spectrotemporal patterns of attended speech tokens better than those of ignored ones. These results help extend the study of attention into the domain of natural speech, posing numerous questions and challenges for future research.
- SourceAvailable from: Luc H Arnal[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Low-gamma (25-45 Hz) and theta (4-8 Hz) oscillations are proposed to underpin the integration of phonemic and syllabic information, respectively. How these two scales of analysis split functions across hemispheres is unclear. We analyzed cortical responses from an epileptic patient with a rare bilateral electrode implantation (stereotactic EEG) in primary (A1/BA41 and A2/BA42) and association auditory cortices (BA22). Using time-frequency analyses, we confirmed the dominance of a 5-6 Hz theta activity in right and of a low-gamma (25-45 Hz) activity in left primary auditory cortices (A1/A2), during both resting state and syllable processing. We further detected high-theta (7-8 Hz) resting activity in left primary, but also associative auditory regions. In left BA22, its phase correlated with high-gamma induced power. Such a hierarchical relationship across theta and gamma frequency bands (theta/gamma phase-amplitude coupling) could index the process by which the neural code shifts from stimulus feature- to phonological-encoding, and is associated with the transition from evoked to induced power responses. These data suggest that theta and gamma activity in right and left auditory cortices bear different functions. They support a scheme where slow parsing of the acoustic information dominates in right hemisphere at a syllabic (5-6 Hz) rate, and left auditory cortex exhibits a more complex cascade of oscillations, reflecting the possible extraction of transient acoustic cues at a fast (~25-45 Hz) rate, subsequently integrated at a slower, e.g., syllabic one. Slow oscillations could functionally participate to speech processing by structuring gamma activity in left BA22, where abstract percepts emerge.Frontiers in Psychology 01/2012; 3:248.