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Editorial Notes

Wel­come to new mem­bers Hon­gi Ngo and Markus Kemper!

We would like to extend a warm wel­come to our new lab members:

Dr. Hong-Viet (“Hon­gi”) Ngo, who is a Uni Lübeck PhD alum­nus him­self, but joins us from the Don­ders Insti­tute and who is an avid expert on sleep, mem­o­ry, and audi­to­ry stim­u­la­tion to entrain slow-wave sleep activity.

Markus Kem­per just grad­u­at­ed from Uni­ver­si­ty of Lübeck and is a trained acoustics engi­neer and audi­ol­o­gist, ready to embark on a PhD dis­sect­ing the psy­cho­log­i­cal and phys­i­o­log­i­cal real­i­ty of that elu­sive con­struct “lis­ten­ing effort”. Notably, Markus is fund­ed by a joint effort of the Depart­ment of Psy­chol­o­gy, Uni­ver­si­ty of Lübeck, and our Cam­pus neigh­bour and indus­try part­ner, the Deutsche Hörg­eräte Insti­tut, DHI (Ger­man Insti­tute of Hear­ing Aids).

What a time to make such career moves dur­ing a pan­dem­ic — good luck, and a pro­duc­tive and enjoy­able time to both of you!

Categories
Ageing Degraded Acoustics Editorial Notes Executive Functions Job Offers Uncategorized

We’re hir­ing (again): DFG-fund­ed 3‑year PhD posi­tion, apply by July 12 2020

Categories
Ageing Auditory Cortex Auditory Neuroscience Auditory Perception fMRI Hearing Loss Papers Perception Psychology Publications

New paper in eLife: Erb et al., Tem­po­ral selec­tiv­i­ty declines in the aging human audi­to­ry cortex

Con­grat­u­la­tions to Oble­ser­lab post­doc Julia Erb for her new paper to appear in eLife, “Tem­po­ral selec­tiv­i­ty declines in the aging human audi­to­ry cor­tex”.

It’s a trope that old­er lis­ten­ers strug­gle more in com­pre­hend­ing speech (think of Pro­fes­sor Tour­nesol in the famous Tintin comics!). The neu­ro­bi­ol­o­gy of why and how age­ing and speech com­pre­hen­sion dif­fi­cul­ties are linked at all has proven much more elu­sive, however.

Part of this lack of knowl­edge is direct­ly root­ed in our lim­it­ed under­stand­ing of how the cen­tral parts of the hear­ing brain – audi­to­ry cor­tex, broad­ly speak­ing – are organized.

Does audi­to­ry cor­tex of old­er adults have dif­fer­ent tun­ing prop­er­ties? That is, do young and old­er adults dif­fer in the way their audi­to­ry sub­fields rep­re­sent cer­tain fea­tures of sound?

A spe­cif­ic hypoth­e­sis fol­low­ing from this, derived from what is known about age-relat­ed change in neu­ro­bi­o­log­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal process­es in gen­er­al (the idea of so-called “ded­if­fer­en­ti­a­tion”), was that the tun­ing to cer­tain fea­tures would “broad­en” and thus lose selec­tiv­i­ty in old­er com­pared to younger listeners.

More mech­a­nis­ti­cal­ly, we aimed to not only observe so-called “cross-sec­tion­al” (i.e., age-group) dif­fer­ences, but to link a listener’s chrono­log­i­cal age as close­ly as pos­si­ble to changes in cor­ti­cal tuning.

Amongst old­er lis­ten­ers, we observe that tem­po­ral-rate selec­tiv­i­ty declines with high­er age. In line with senes­cent neur­al ded­if­fer­en­ti­a­tion more gen­er­al­ly, our results high­light decreased selec­tiv­i­ty to tem­po­ral infor­ma­tion as a hall­mark of the aging audi­to­ry cortex.

This research is gen­er­ous­ly sup­port­ed by the ERC Con­sol­ida­tor project AUDADAPT, and data for this study were acquired at the CBBM at Uni­ver­si­ty of Lübeck.

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Editorial Notes Job Offers Uncategorized

We are hir­ing! 4‑y post­doc­tor­al position

There is now an open­ing for an up-to-4-year (!) post­doc posi­tion in my lab for late summer/fall. Join us in Lübeck, Ger­many, and do cool behav­iour­al and neu­ro­science on neur­al dynam­ics, age­ing, sen­so­ry decline with us!

The appli­ca­tion dead­line (as sin­gle PDF to the email address named in the add!) is June 7 2020, see Ger­man and Eng­lish PDFs for all details.

Feel free to ring me up any time if you are inter­est­ed in chat­ting before­hand. Look­ing for­ward to many inter­est­ing applications!

— J.O.

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Uncategorized

Jonas appoint­ed as Review­ing edi­tor to eLife

I am hon­oured to have been asked to join the edi­to­r­i­al board of eLife, a jour­nal I very much hon­our for their fresh approach to excel­lent sci­en­tif­ic publishing.

eLife is a pub­lish­ing ini­tia­tive by the Max Planck Soci­ety, the Well­come Trust, and Howard Hugh­es Med­ical Institute.

My tenure as review­ing edi­tor has start­ed Decem­ber 2019.

Categories
Attention Auditory Neuroscience Neural Oscillations Papers Psychology Uncategorized

New paper in press in the Jour­nal of Neuroscience

Wöst­mann, Alavash and Obleser demon­strate that alpha oscil­la­tions in the human brain imple­ment dis­trac­tor sup­pres­sion inde­pen­dent of tar­get selection.

In the­o­ry, the abil­i­ty to selec­tive­ly focus on rel­e­vant objects in our envi­ron­ment bases on selec­tion of tar­gets and sup­pres­sion of dis­trac­tion. As it is unclear whether tar­get selec­tion and dis­trac­tor sup­pres­sion are inde­pen­dent, we designed an Elec­troen­cephalog­ra­phy (EEG) study to direct­ly con­trast these two processes.

Par­tic­i­pants per­formed a pitch dis­crim­i­na­tion task on a tone sequence pre­sent­ed at one loud­speak­er loca­tion while a dis­tract­ing tone sequence was pre­sent­ed at anoth­er loca­tion. When the dis­trac­tor was fixed in the front, atten­tion to upcom­ing tar­gets on the left ver­sus right side induced hemi­spher­ic lat­er­al­i­sa­tion of alpha pow­er with rel­a­tive­ly high­er pow­er ipsi- ver­sus con­tralat­er­al to the side of attention.

Crit­i­cal­ly, when the tar­get was fixed in front, sup­pres­sion of upcom­ing dis­trac­tors reversed the pat­tern of alpha lat­er­al­i­sa­tion, that is, alpha pow­er increased con­tralat­er­al to the dis­trac­tor and decreased ipsi­lat­er­al­ly. Since the two lat­er­al­ized alpha respons­es were uncor­re­lat­ed across par­tic­i­pants, they can be con­sid­ered large­ly inde­pen­dent cog­ni­tive mechanisms.

This was fur­ther sup­port­ed by the fact that alpha lat­er­al­i­sa­tion in response to dis­trac­tor sup­pres­sion orig­i­nat­ed in more ante­ri­or, frontal cor­ti­cal regions com­pared with tar­get selec­tion (see figure).

The paper is also avail­able as preprint here.

 

Categories
Adaptive Control Attention fMRI Grants Hearing Loss Uncategorized

New DFG project led by Mohsen Alavash on the Net­work Neu­ro­science of Spa­tial Attention

Con­grat­u­la­tions to our cur­rent­ly ERC-fund­ed lab mem­ber and post­doc Mohsen Alavash who has just secured 3‑year fund­ing (~380,000 €) by the Deutsche Forschungs­ge­mein­schaft (DFG) for an ambi­tious project: Mohsen wants to get clos­er to a net­work/­graph-the­o­ret­i­cal descrip­tion of how spa­tial atten­tion in the lis­ten­ing brain is organ­ised. In a lat­er stage of the project, Mohsen also plans on study­ing how the net­work organ­i­sa­tion of spa­tial atten­tion may be altered in hear­ing-impaired listeners.

We are glad that Mohsen plans on run­ning this project with­in the Obleser lab, here at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Lübeck.

Also, make sure to check out Mohsen’s lat­est pub­li­ca­tion on the topic.

Categories
Adaptive Control Auditory Neuroscience Auditory Speech Processing Auf deutsch Events Executive Functions Hearing Loss Media Speech

Jonas pre­sent­ed for the KIND Hörs­tiftung in Berlin (Video)

Im Feb­ru­ar hat­te ich die Ehre, für die Kind Hörs­tiftung auf deren 2019er Sym­po­sium in Berlin unsere Arbeit­en zur Vorher­sage des Hör­erfol­gs exem­plar­isch anhand einiger unser­er Stu­di­en all­ge­mein­ver­ständlich zu beleucht­en. Ein 25-minütiges Video dieses Vor­trags ist jet­zt online.

(In Feb­ru­ary, I had the hon­our of pre­sent­ing some of our recent work on pre­dict­ing indi­vid­u­als’ lis­ten­ing suc­cess at the sym­po­sium of the Kind Hear­ing Foun­da­tion. A video in Ger­man is now available.)