Attention improves population-level frequency tuning in human auditory cortex.
ABSTRACT Attention improves auditory performance in noisy environments by either enhancing the processing of task-relevant stimuli ("gain"), suppressing task-irrelevant information ("sharpening"), or both. In the present study, we investigated the effect of focused auditory attention on the population-level frequency tuning in human auditory cortex by means of magnetoencephalography. Using complex stimuli consisting of a test tone superimposed on different band-eliminated noises during active listening or distracted listening conditions, we observed that focused auditory attention caused not only gain, but also sharpening of frequency tuning in human auditory cortex as reflected by the N1m auditory evoked response. This combination of gain and sharpening in the auditory cortex may contribute to better auditory performance during focused auditory attention.
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ABSTRACT: Background. The generation and maintenance of tinnitus are assumed to be based on maladaptive functional cortical reorganization. Listening to modified music, which contains no energy in the range of the individual tinnitus frequency, can inhibit the corresponding neuronal activity in the auditory cortex. Music making has been shown to be a powerful stimulator for brain plasticity, inducing changes in multiple sensory systems. Using magnetoencephalographic (MEG) and behavioral measurements we evaluated the cortical plasticity effects of two months of (a) active listening to (unisensory) versus (b) learning to play (multisensory) tailor-made notched music in nonmusician tinnitus patients. Taking into account the fact that uni- and multisensory trainings induce different patterns of cortical plasticity we hypothesized that these two protocols will have different affects. Results. Only the active listening (unisensory) group showed significant reduction of tinnitus related activity of the middle temporal cortex and an increase in the activity of a tinnitus-coping related posterior parietal area. Conclusions. These findings indicate that active listening to tailor-made notched music induces greater neuroplastic changes in the maladaptively reorganized cortical network of tinnitus patients while additional integration of other sensory modalities during training reduces these neuroplastic effects.Neural Plasticity 01/2014; 2014:516163. · 3.60 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: An auditory selective attention set allows one to enhance the processing of goal-relevant sound events, which is reflected by the enhancement of the N1 event-related potential (ERP). The present study investigated whether the sensory consequences of distraction (i.e., involuntary attention changes triggered by infrequent sensory events) can be revealed as the removal of this attentional ERP enhancement. Continuous tones featuring occasional gaps were presented, and participants performed a gap-detection task. Independently from gaps, abrupt pitch changes (glides) were introduced, either rarely or frequently, in separate conditions. Whereas rare glides preceding gaps by 150 ms strongly impacted gap-detection performance and gap-related N1 amplitudes, their impact on gaps following rare glides by 650 ms was significantly smaller in both measures. This result demonstrates the utility of N1 in probing the sensory impact of auditory distraction.Psychophysiology 02/2014; · 3.18 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: A number of studies have shown that sounds temporally close to one's own finger movements elicit lower-amplitude auditory event-related potentials (ERPs) than do the same tones when they are only listened to. In these studies, the actions have involved making a mechanical contact with an object. In the present study, the role of mechanical contact with an object was investigated in action-related auditory attenuation. In three experiments, participants performed a time-interval production task. In each experiment, in one condition the action involved touching an object, but no mechanical contact was made in the other. The estimated tone-related ERP contributions to the action-tone coincidence ERP waveforms (calculated by subtracting the action-related ERP from the coincidence ERP) were more attenuated when the action involved moving the finger and making a mechanical contact at the end of the movement. However, when participants kept their finger on a piezoelectric element and applied pressure impulses without moving their finger, the action did not result in stronger attenuation of the tone-related auditory ERP estimates. Although these results may suggest that auditory ERP attenuation is stronger for actions resulting in mechanical impact, they also imply that mechanical impact may confound and lead to the overestimation of auditory ERP attenuation in such paradigms, because the impact may result in faint but audible sounds.Cognitive Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience 04/2014; · 3.87 Impact Factor