Acoustics Neural Filters Neural Phase Papers Perception Publications Uncategorized

New paper in Devel­op­men­tal Cog­ni­tive Neu­ro­science, Jessen et al.

Our lab (senior author Sarah Tune) teamed up once again with the Baby­lab Lübeck, led by Sarah Jessen: Sarah and Sarah co-wrote a great tuto­r­i­al on how the ver­sa­tile analy­sis frame­work of tem­po­ral response func­tions can be used to analyse brain data obtained in infants. The arti­cle has now been accept­ed for pub­li­ca­tion in the well-reput­ed jour­nal Devel­op­men­tal Cog­ni­tive Neu­ro­science:


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.

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.
Ageing Attention Auditory Cortex Auditory Neuroscience Editorial Notes EEG / MEG Executive Functions Neural Phase Posters

Come see us @ Neu­ro­science 2017 in DC

Will be at the Soci­ety for Neu­ro­science Meet­ing next week in DC? Come find us in the Wednes­day after­noon ses­sion with a bunch of (we think) very cool atten­tion-relat­ed posters (Poster boards UU42UU46):

804.06. Audi­to­ry atten­tion and pre­dic­tive pro­cess­ing co-mod­u­late speech com­pre­hen­sion in mid­dle-aged adults

804.05. Implic­it tem­po­ral pre­dictabil­i­ty enhances audi­to­ry pitch-dis­crim­i­na­tion sensitivity

804.09. Are visu­al and audi­to­ry detec­tion per­for­mance dri­ven by a supramodal atten­tion­al rhythm?

804.08. Spa­tio-tem­po­ral expec­ta­tions exert dif­fer­en­tial effects on visu­al and audi­to­ry discrimination

804.07. Tran­scra­nial 10-Hz stim­u­la­tion but also eye clo­sure mod­u­late audi­to­ry attention

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!


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!

Adaptive Control Auditory Neuroscience EEG / MEG Evoked Activity Hearing Loss Neural Phase Perception Preprints (not peer-reviewed yet) Publications Speech Uncategorized

New preprint paper: Fiedler et al. on pre­dict­ing focus of atten­tion from in-ear EEG

Very proud: PhD stu­dent Lorenz Fiedler goes live (pre-peer-review) with his work of pre­dict­ing the focus of atten­tion in sin­gle-chan­nel/­for­ward mod­els in in-ear EEG!
Here is the preprint of the paper, which now will under­go peer-review. Thanks for check­ing it out!

In-Ear results Fiedler

Auditory Cortex Auditory Neuroscience Auditory Perception Auditory Speech Processing Editorial Notes EEG / MEG Executive Functions Neural Oscillations Neural Phase Papers Publications Speech Uncategorized

[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.