[UPDATE] New paper in PNAS: Spa­tiotem­po­ral dynam­ics of audi­to­ry atten­tion syn­chro­nize with speech, Woest­mann et al.

Wöst­mann, Her­rmann, Maess and Obleser demon­strate that the hemi­spher­ic lat­er­al­iza­tion of neur­al alpha oscil­la­tions mea­sured in the mag­ne­toen­cephalo­gram (MEG) syn­chro­nizes with the speech sig­nal and pre­dicts lis­ten­ers’ speech com­pre­hen­sion.

Now avail­able online:


Press release:



Atten­tion plays a fun­da­men­tal role in selec­tive­ly pro­cess­ing stim­uli in our envi­ron­ment despite dis­trac­tion. Spa­tial atten­tion induces increas­ing and decreas­ing pow­er of neur­al alpha oscil­la­tions (8–12 Hz) in brain regions ipsi­lat­er­al and con­tralat­er­al to the locus of atten­tion, respec­tive­ly. This study test­ed whether the hemi­spher­ic lat­er­al­iza­tion of alpha pow­er codes not just the spa­tial loca­tion but also the tem­po­ral struc­ture of the stim­u­lus. Par­tic­i­pants attend­ed to spo­ken dig­its pre­sent­ed to one ear and ignored tight­ly syn­chro­nized dis­tract­ing dig­its pre­sent­ed to the oth­er ear. In the mag­ne­toen­cephalo­gram, spa­tial atten­tion induced lat­er­al­iza­tion of alpha pow­er in pari­etal, but notably also in audi­to­ry cor­ti­cal regions. This alpha pow­er lat­er­al­iza­tion was not main­tained steadi­ly but fluc­tu­at­ed in syn­chrony with the speech rate and lagged the time course of low-fre­quen­cy (1–5 Hz) sen­so­ry syn­chro­niza­tion. High­er ampli­tude of alpha pow­er mod­u­la­tion at the speech rate was pre­dic­tive of a listener’s enhanced per­for­mance of stream-spe­cif­ic speech com­pre­hen­sion. Our find­ings demon­strate that alpha pow­er lat­er­al­iza­tion is mod­u­lat­ed in tune with the sen­so­ry input and acts as a spa­tiotem­po­ral fil­ter con­trol­ling the read-out of sen­so­ry con­tent.

26. February 2016 by Jonas
Categories: Auditory Cortex, Auditory Neuroscience, Auditory Perception, Auditory Speech Processing, Editorial Notes, EEG / MEG, Executive Functions, Neural Oscillations, Neural Phase, Papers, Publications, Speech, Uncategorized | Comments Off on [UPDATE] New paper in PNAS: Spa­tiotem­po­ral dynam­ics of audi­to­ry atten­tion syn­chro­nize with speech, Woest­mann et al.