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Adaptive Control Editorial Notes Neural Oscillations Papers

New Paper accept­ed in Plos Biol­o­gy, Alavash et al.

 

Our lab is proud and hap­py that anoth­er major step­ping stone from our ERC con­sol­ida­tor project (“AUDADAPT”) is now accept­ed for pub­li­ca­tion in PLoS Biol­o­gy! Con­grat­u­la­tions to our first author Dr Mohsen Alavash, now a senior researcher in the Obleser lab in his own right.

 

 

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Editorial Notes Neural Oscillations Neural Phase Papers Uncategorized

A qui­et inno­va­tor: Peter Lakatos (1972–2021)

Our dear col­league and col­lab­o­ra­tor Peter Lakatos passed away sud­den­ly two months ago. With Peter’s so untime­ly death at the age of 49, Neu­ro­science has suf­fered an unimag­in­able loss.
It has been an hon­our and priv­i­lege to con­tribute Peter Lakatos’ obit­u­ary to Nature Neu­ro­science.

— Jonas Obleser

The pic­ture shows Peter just after or dur­ing his talk at our SNAP 2013 work­shop at the Max Planck Insti­tute in Leipzig. Inci­dent­ly, this is also the talk I ref­er­enced in my recent obit­u­ary, linked above.

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 Auditory Cortex Auditory Neuroscience Auditory Working Memory Neural Oscillations Papers Perception Psychology Uncategorized

New paper in The Jour­nal of Neu­ro­science: Wilsch et al.., Tem­po­ral expec­ta­tion mod­u­lates the cor­ti­cal dynam­ics of short-term memory

Con­grat­u­la­tions to Oble­ser­lab alum­na Anna Wilsch, who is – for now – leav­ing acad­e­mia on a true high with her lat­est offer­ing on how tem­po­ral expec­ta­tions (“fore­knowl­edge” about when some­thing is to hap­pen) shape the neur­al make-up of memory!

Record­ed while the Oble­ser­lab was still in Leipzig at the Max Planck, and analysed with great input from our co-authors Mol­ly Hen­ry, Björn Her­rmann as well as Christoph Her­rmann (Old­en­burg), Anna used Mag­ne­toen­cephalog­ra­phy in an intri­cate but ulti­mate­ly very sim­ple sen­so­ry-mem­o­ry paradigm.

 

While sen­so­ry mem­o­ries of the phys­i­cal world fade quick­ly, Anna here shows that this decay of short-term mem­o­ry can be coun­ter­act­ed by tem­po­ral expectation.

Notably, spa­tial­ly dis­trib­uted cor­ti­cal pat­terns of alpha (8−−13 Hz) pow­er showed oppos­ing effects in audi­to­ry vs. visu­al sen­so­ry cor­tices. More­over, alpha-tuned con­nec­tiv­i­ty changes with­in supramodal atten­tion net­works reflect the allo­ca­tion of neur­al resources as short-term mem­o­ry rep­re­sen­ta­tions fade.

— to be updat­ed as the paper will become avail­able online –

Categories
Auditory Cortex Auditory Neuroscience Brain stimulation Clinical relevance Degraded Acoustics Hearing Loss Neural Oscillations Neural Phase Papers Psychology Speech

New paper in press with the Old­en­burg brain-stim­u­la­tion crew!

AC alum­na Anna Wilsch has a new paper in press in Neu­roim­age, with Toralf Neul­ing, Jonas Obleser, and Christoph Her­rmann: “Tran­scra­nial alter­nat­ing cur­rent stim­u­la­tion with speech envelopes mod­u­lates speech com­pre­hen­sion”. In this proof-of-concept–like paper, we demon­strate that using the speech enve­lope as a “pilot sig­nal” for elec­tri­cal­ly stim­u­lat­ing the human brain, while a lis­ten­er tries to com­pre­hend that speech sig­nal buried in noise, does mod­u­late the listener’s speech–in–noise com­pre­hen­sion abilities.

The Preprint is here, … 

… while the abstract goes like this:
Cor­ti­cal entrain­ment of the audi­to­ry cor­tex to the broad­band tem­po­ral enve­lope of a speech sig­nal is cru­cial for speech com­pre­hen­sion. Entrain­ment results in phas­es of high and low neur­al excitabil­i­ty, which struc­ture and decode the incom­ing speech sig­nal. Entrain­ment to speech is strongest in the theta fre­quen­cy range (4−8 Hz), the aver­age fre­quen­cy of the speech enve­lope. If a speech sig­nal is degrad­ed, entrain­ment to the speech enve­lope is weak­er and speech intel­li­gi­bil­i­ty declines. Besides per­cep­tu­al­ly evoked cor­ti­cal entrain­ment, tran­scra­nial alter­nat­ing cur­rent stim­u­la­tion (tACS) entrains neur­al oscil­la­tions by apply­ing an elec­tric sig­nal to the brain. Accord­ing­ly, tACS-induced entrain­ment in audi­to­ry cor­tex has been shown to improve audi­to­ry per­cep­tion. The aim of the cur­rent study was to mod­u­late speech intel­li­gi­bil­i­ty exter­nal­ly by means of tACS such that the elec­tric cur­rent cor­re­sponds to the enve­lope of the pre­sent­ed speech stream (i.e., enve­lope-tACS). Par­tic­i­pants per­formed the Old­en­burg sen­tence test with sen­tences pre­sent­ed in noise in com­bi­na­tion with enve­lope-tACS. Crit­i­cal­ly, tACS was induced at time lags of 0 to 250 ms in 50-ms steps rel­a­tive to sen­tence onset (audi­to­ry stim­uli were simul­ta­ne­ous to or pre­ced­ed tACS). We per­formed sin­gle- sub­ject sinu­soidal, lin­ear, and qua­drat­ic fits to the sen­tence com­pre­hen­sion per­for­mance across the time lags. We could show that the sinu­soidal fit described the mod­u­la­tion of sen­tence com­pre­hen­sion best. Impor­tant­ly, the aver­age fre­quen­cy of the sinu­soidal fit was 5.12 Hz, cor­re­spond­ing to the peaks of the ampli­tude spec­trum of the stim­u­lat­ed envelopes. This find­ing was sup­port­ed by a sig­nif­i­cant 5‑Hz peak in the aver­age pow­er spec­trum of indi­vid­ual per­for­mance time series. Alto­geth­er, enve­lope tACS mod­u­lates intel­li­gi­bil­i­ty of speech in noise, pre­sum­ably by enhanc­ing and dis­rupt­ing (time lag with in- or out-of-phase stim­u­la­tion, respec­tive­ly) cor­ti­cal entrain­ment to the speech enve­lope in audi­to­ry cortex.
Categories
Attention Auditory Neuroscience EEG / MEG Evoked Activity Neural Oscillations Neural Phase Papers Perception Psychology Uncategorized

New paper in Plos Biol­o­gy: Com­ment by Obleser, Hen­ry, & Lakatos

My col­leagues and col­lab­o­ra­tor Peter Lakatos and Mol­ly Hen­ry and I took to our desks and Mat­lab con­soles, when Assaf Bres­ka and Leon Deouell came out ear­li­er this year with their paper in Plos Biology.

We had a few things to say about what we then per­ceived as a rather pes­simistic assess­ment of neur­al entrain­ment. How­ev­er, since then a great and quite fru­ti­ful dis­cus­sion has emerged, now pub­lished in Plos Biology:

Obleser J, Hen­ry, MJ, & Lakatos, P. What do we talk about when we talk about rhythm?, Plos Biol­o­gy 2017

Mean­while, Bres­ka and Deouell added some more behav­iour­al data and replied to us (now also pub­lished).

— Enjoy!

 

Categories
Adaptive Control Ageing Auditory Cortex Auditory Neuroscience EEG / MEG Evoked Activity Executive Functions Neural Oscillations Neural Phase Papers Perception Publications

New paper in press: Hen­ry et al., Nature Communications

Here comes a new paper in Nature Com­mu­ni­ca­tions by for­mer AC post­doc Mol­ly Hen­ry, with for­mer fel­low post­doc AC alum­nus Björn Her­rmann, our tire­less lab man­ag­er, Dun­ja Kunke, and myself! It is a late (to us quite impor­tant) result from our lab’s tenure at the Max Planck in Leipzig, 

Hen­ry, M.J., Her­rmann, B., Kunke, D., Obleser, J. (In press). Aging affects the bal­ance of neur­al entrain­ment and top-down neur­al mod­u­la­tion in the lis­ten­ing brain. Nature Communications. 

—Con­grat­u­la­tions, Molly!

Categories
Adaptive Control Attention Auditory Cortex Auditory Neuroscience Auditory Perception Auditory Speech Processing Degraded Acoustics EEG / MEG Evoked Activity Executive Functions Neural Oscillations Noise-Vocoded Speech Papers Perception Psychology Publications Speech

New paper in press in Cere­bral Cor­tex: Wöst­mann et al. on ignor­ing degrad­ed speech

Audi­to­ry Cognition’s own Malte Wöst­mann is in press in Cere­bral Cor­tex with his lat­est offer­ing on how atten­tion­al con­trol man­i­fests in alpha pow­er changes: Ignor­ing speech can be ben­e­fi­cial (if com­pre­hend­ing speech poten­tial­ly detracts from anoth­er task), and we here show how this change in lis­ten­ing goals turns around the pat­tern of alpha-pow­er changes with chang­ing speech degra­da­tion. (We will update as the paper becomes avail­able online.)

Wöst­mann, M., Lim, S.J., & Obleser, J. (2017). The human neur­al alpha response to speech is a proxy of atten­tion­al con­trol. Cere­bral Cor­tex. In press.

 

Abstract
Human alpha (~10 Hz) oscil­la­to­ry pow­er is a promi­nent neur­al mark­er of cog­ni­tive effort. When lis­ten­ers attempt to process and retain acousti­cal­ly degrad­ed speech, alpha pow­er enhances. It is unclear whether these alpha mod­u­la­tions reflect the degree of acoustic degra­da­tion per se or the degra­da­tion-dri­ven demand to a listener’s atten­tion­al con­trol. Using an irrel­e­vant-speech par­a­digm in elec­troen­cephalog­ra­phy (EEG), the cur­rent exper­i­ment demon­strates that the neur­al alpha response to speech is a sur­pris­ing­ly clear proxy of top-down con­trol, entire­ly dri­ven by the lis­ten­ing goals of attend­ing ver­sus ignor­ing degrad­ed speech. While (n=23) lis­ten­ers retained the ser­i­al order of 9 to-be-recalled dig­its, one to-be-ignored sen­tence was pre­sent­ed. Dis­tractibil­i­ty of the to-be-ignored sen­tence para­met­ri­cal­ly var­ied in acoustic detail (noise-vocod­ing), with more acoustic detail of dis­tract­ing speech increas­ing­ly dis­rupt­ing lis­ten­ers’ ser­i­al mem­o­ry recall. Where pre­vi­ous stud­ies had observed decreas­es in pari­etal and audi­to­ry alpha pow­er with more acoustic detail (of tar­get speech), alpha pow­er here showed the oppo­site pat­tern and increased with more acoustic detail in the speech dis­trac­tor. In sum, the neur­al alpha response reflects almost exclu­sive­ly a listener’s exer­tion of atten­tion­al con­trol, which is deci­sive for whether more acoustic detail facil­i­tates com­pre­hen­sion (of attend­ed speech) or enhances dis­trac­tion (of ignored speech).