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Auditory Neuroscience Brain stimulation EEG / MEG Executive Functions fMRI Grants Job Offers Semantics Speech

We are hir­ing: new PhD train­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty start­ing spring 2022

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Auditory Neuroscience Auditory Speech Processing fMRI Linguistics Papers Perception Psychology Semantics Speech Uncategorized

New paper in Sci­ence Advances by Schmitt et al.

Very excit­ed to announce that for­mer Obleser lab PhD stu­dent Lea-Maria Schmitt with her co-authors *) is now out in the Jour­nal Sci­ence Advances with her new work, fus­ing artif­i­cal neur­al net­works and func­tion­al MRI data, on timescales of pre­dic­tion in nat­ur­al lan­guage comprehension:

Pre­dict­ing speech from a cor­ti­cal hier­ar­chy of event-based time scales”

*) Lea-Maria Schmitt, Julia Erb, Sarah Tune, and Jonas Obleser from the Obleser lab / Lübeck side, and our col­lab­o­ra­tors Anna Rysop and Gesa Hartwigsen from Gesa’s Lise Meit­ner group at the Max Planck Insti­tute in Leipzig. This research was made pos­si­ble by the ERC and the DFG.

 

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Ageing EEG / MEG fMRI Papers Publications

New Per­spec­tive paper in Neu­ron by Waschke et al.

We are excit­ed to share that for­mer Oble­ser­lab PhD stu­dent Leo Waschke, togeth­er with his new (Doug Gar­rett, Niels Kloost­er­man) and old (Jonas Obleser) lab has pub­lished an in-depth per­spec­tive piece in Neu­ron, with the provoca­tive title “Behav­ior need neur­al vari­abil­i­ty”.
Our arti­cle is essen­tial­ly a long and exten­sive trib­ute to the “sec­ond moment” of neur­al activ­i­ty, in sta­tis­ti­cal terms, essen­tial­ly: Vari­abil­i­ty — be it quan­ti­fied as vari­ance, entropy, or spec­tral slope — is the long-neglect­ed twin of aver­ages, and it holds great promise in under­stand­ing neur­al states (how does neur­al activ­i­ty dif­fer from one moment to the next?) and traits (how do indi­vid­u­als dif­fer from each other?).
Con­grat­u­la­tions, Leo!

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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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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.

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Adaptive Control Ageing Attention Auditory Cortex Auditory Neuroscience Auditory Speech Processing Executive Functions fMRI Papers Psychology Uncategorized

New paper in PNAS by Alavash, Tune, Obleser

How brain areas com­mu­ni­cate shapes human com­mu­ni­ca­tion: The hear­ing regions in your brain form new alliances as you try to lis­ten at the cock­tail party

Oble­ser­lab Post­docs Mohsen Alavash and Sarah Tune rock out an intri­cate graph-the­o­ret­i­cal account of mod­u­lar recon­fig­u­ra­tions in chal­leng­ing lis­ten­ing sit­u­a­tions, and how these pre­dict indi­vid­u­als’ lis­ten­ing success.

Avail­able online now in PNAS! (Also, our uni is cur­rent­ly fea­tur­ing a Ger­man-lan­guage press release on it, as well as an Eng­lish-lan­guage ver­sion)

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Auditory Cortex Auditory Neuroscience fMRI Papers Publications

New paper by Erb et al. in Cere­bral Cor­tex: Human but not mon­key audi­to­ry cor­tex is tuned to slow tem­po­ral rates

In a new com­par­a­tive fMRI study just pub­lished in Cere­bral Cor­tex, AC post­doc Julia Erb and her col­lab­o­ra­tors in the Formisano (Maas­tricht Uni­ver­si­ty) and Van­duf­fel labs (KU Leu­ven) pro­vide us with nov­el insights into speech evo­lu­tion. These data by Erb et al. reveal homolo­gies and dif­fer­ences in nat­ur­al sound-encod­ing in human and non-human pri­mate cortex.

From the Abstract: “Under­stand­ing homolo­gies and dif­fer­ences in audi­to­ry cor­ti­cal pro­cess­ing in human and non­hu­man pri­mates is an essen­tial step in elu­ci­dat­ing the neu­ro­bi­ol­o­gy of speech and lan­guage. Using fMRI respons­es to nat­ur­al sounds, we inves­ti­gat­ed the rep­re­sen­ta­tion of mul­ti­ple acoustic fea­tures in audi­to­ry cor­tex of awake macaques and humans. Com­par­a­tive analy­ses revealed homol­o­gous large-scale topogra­phies not only for fre­quen­cy but also for tem­po­ral and spec­tral mod­u­la­tions. Con­verse­ly, we observed a strik­ing inter­species dif­fer­ence in cor­ti­cal sen­si­tiv­i­ty to tem­po­ral mod­u­la­tions: While decod­ing from macaque audi­to­ry cor­tex was most accu­rate at fast rates (> 30 Hz), humans had high­est sen­si­tiv­i­ty to ~3 Hz, a rel­e­vant rate for speech analy­sis. These find­ings sug­gest that char­ac­ter­is­tic tun­ing of human audi­to­ry cor­tex to slow tem­po­ral mod­u­la­tions is unique and may have emerged as a crit­i­cal step in the evo­lu­tion of speech and language.”

The paper is avail­able here. Con­grat­u­la­tions, Julia!

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Adaptive Control Attention Auditory Working Memory Clinical relevance Executive Functions fMRI Papers Psychology Publications Uncategorized

New paper in press in ‘Neu­roim­age’: Alavash, Lim, et al

Oble­ser­lab post­doc Mohsen Alavash and Oble­ser­lab Alum­na Sung-Joo Lim are in press at Neu­roim­age!

They argue with data from a place­bo-con­trolled dopamin­er­gic inter­ven­tion study that BOLD sig­nal vari­abil­i­ty and the func­tion­al con­nec­tome are sur­pris­ing­ly clear­ly affect­ed by L‑Dopa, and (ii) that the degree of change in these met­rics can explain the degree to which indi­vid­u­als will prof­it from L‑DOPA in per­form­ing the chal­leng­ing lis­ten­ing task (while oth­ers dont; Preprint here ).

Alavash, M., Lim, S.J., Thiel, C., Sehm, B., Deser­no, L., & Obleser, J. (2018) Dopamin­er­gic mod­u­la­tion of hemo­dy­nam­ic sig­nal vari­abil­i­ty and the func­tion­al con­nec­tome dur­ing cog­ni­tive per­for­mance. Neu­roim­age. In press.

— Thanks also and in par­tic­u­lar to our col­leagues Chris­tiane Thiel of Old­en­burg, and Bern­hard Sehm and Lorenz Deser­no of Leipzig, who helped us made this large-scale L‑DOPA project happen!