Categories
Adaptive Control Ageing EEG / MEG Executive Functions fMRI Job Offers

We’ll be hir­ing soon: Post­docs wanted

The research group “Audi­to­ry Cog­ni­tion” (head­ed by Prof. Dr. Jonas Obleser; auditorycognition.com) in the recent­ly estab­lished Depart­ment of Psy­chol­o­gy, Uni­ver­si­ty of Lübeck, is seek­ing to hire several

Post­doc­tor­al Researchers

start­ing by Jan­u­ary 2016, ini­tial­ly for 3 years, with the option of a 2‑year exten­sion. These posi­tions will fall into the larg­er frame­work of an ERC Con­sol­ida­tor grant “The lis­ten­ing chal­lenge: How age­ing brains adapt” recent­ly award­ed to Jonas Obleser, and will allow the joint devel­op­ment of cog­ni­tive neu­ro­science and psy­cho­log­i­cal research projects tar­get­ing adap­tive con­trol in the audi­to­ry modal­i­ty of mid­dle-aged adults.

[About the ERC project: The audi­to­ry sen­so­ry modal­i­ty pos­es an excel­lent, although under-utilised, research mod­el to under­stand the cog­ni­tive adjust­ments to sen­so­ry change (here termed “adap­tive con­trol”), their neur­al basis, and their large vari­a­tion amongst indi­vid­u­als. Hear­ing abil­i­ties begin to decline already in the fourth life decade, and our guid­ing hypoth­e­sis is that indi­vid­u­als dif­fer in the extent to which they are neu­ral­ly, cog­ni­tive­ly, and psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly equipped to adapt to this sen­so­ry decline.]

We are look­ing for cre­ative minds with a PhD degree and a promis­ing track record in cog­ni­tive neu­ro­science, psy­chol­o­gy, physics, or engi­neer­ing. A strong back­ground and inter­est in research meth­ods is desir­able. Pri­or expe­ri­ence with either human neu­ro­science meth­ods (espe­cial­ly advanced EEG and/or fMRI analy­ses) or mod­el­ing of rich data sets (e.g., latent growth mod­el­ing, struc­tur­al equa­tion mod­el­ing) is expected.

The Uni­ver­si­ty of Lübeck is a mod­ern uni­ver­si­ty spe­cial­iz­ing in Med­i­cine, Com­put­er Sci­ence, Mol­e­c­u­lar Biol­o­gy, Bio­math­e­mat­ics and Med­ical Engi­neer­ing. Inter­na­tion­al­ly renowned research and high stan­dards of aca­d­e­m­ic tutor­ing char­ac­ter­ize the pro­file of the uni­ver­si­ty. A new ded­i­cat­ed research build­ing (Cen­tre for Brain, Behav­iour, and Metab­o­lism; CBBM) hous­ing also the Obleser lab will open in late 2015.

Pay­ment will fol­low salary group E13 TV‑L (full time), if con­di­tions based on Ger­man Pub­lic ser­vice reg­u­la­tions are satisfied.

 

These posi­tions will be announced offi­cial­ly lat­er in autumn 2015, but inter­est­ed can­di­dates should be in touch now with Jonas Obleser, jonas.obleser@uni-luebeck.de

Categories
fMRI Linguistics Papers Publications Speech

New paper in Neu­roIm­age by Scharinger, Hen­ry, & Obleser [UPDATED]

A new paper is about to appear in Neu­roim­age on

Acoustic cue selec­tion and dis­crim­i­na­tion under degra­da­tion: Dif­fer­en­tial con­tri­bu­tions of the infe­ri­or pari­etal and pos­te­ri­or tem­po­ral cortices

by Math­ias Scharinger, Mol­ly J. Hen­ry, Jonas Obleser

Abstract
Cat­e­go­riz­ing sounds is vital for adap­tive human behav­ior. Accord­ing­ly, chang­ing lis­ten­ing sit­u­a­tions (exter­nal noise or periph­er­al hear­ing loss in aging) that may be accom­pa­nied by changes in dis­crim­inabil­i­ty, require lis­ten­ers to flex­i­bly adjust their cat­e­go­riza­tion strate­gies, some­times by changes in uti­liz­ing avail­able acoustic cues.
In this func­tion­al Mag­net­ic Res­o­nance Imag­ing (fMRI) study, we inves­ti­gate the cat­e­go­riza­tion of nov­el, non-speech audi­to­ry stim­uli that var­ied in over­all dis­crim­inabil­i­ty. More­over, we manip­u­late the rel­a­tive infor­ma­tive­ness of a dura­tion ver­sus a spec­tral-peak cue by adding spec­tral degra­da­tion in the mid­dle of the exper­i­ment. The results demon­strate dif­fer­ent roles of tem­po­ral and pari­etal brain areas for audi­to­ry cat­e­go­riza­tion: Tem­po­ral cor­tex acti­va­tion, in par­tic­u­lar in pos­te­ri­or parts of the right supe­ri­or tem­po­ral gyrus, scaled with dis­crim­inabil­i­ty, while left pari­etal cor­tex acti­va­tion was asso­ci­at­ed with changes in cue uti­liza­tion after the appli­ca­tion of spec­tral degradation.
This work extends pre­vi­ous research on audi­to­ry cat­e­go­riza­tion. Impor­tant­ly, the involve­ment of the left infe­ri­or pari­etal lob­ule in changes of cue uti­liza­tion sup­ports its role in domain-gen­er­al process­es that sup­port cat­e­go­riza­tion. Fur­ther, the sen­si­tiv­i­ty of the right pos­te­ri­or supe­ri­or tem­po­ral gyrus to stim­u­lus dis­crim­inabil­i­ty adds to pre­vi­ous find­ings regard­ing its role in audi­to­ry processing. 
[UPDATE] Link added.

Ref­er­ences

  • Scharinger M1, Hen­ry MJ2, Obleser J2. Acoustic cue selec­tion and dis­crim­i­na­tion under degra­da­tion: Dif­fer­en­tial con­tri­bu­tions of the infe­ri­or pari­etal and pos­te­ri­or tem­po­ral cor­tices. Neu­roim­age. 2015 Feb 1;106:373–81. PMID: 25481793. [Open with Read]
Categories
fMRI Papers Perception Publications

New paper in press: Her­rmann et al in NeuroImage

Dr Björn Her­rmann did it again, and is in press at Neu­roIm­age with Her­rmann, Hen­ry, Scharinger, & Obleser on

Sup­ple­men­tary motor area acti­va­tions pre­dict indi­vid­ual dif­fer­ences in tem­po­ral-change sen­si­tiv­i­ty and its illu­so­ry distortions

See abstract
Per­cep­tion of time and tem­po­ral change are crit­i­cal for human cog­ni­tion. Yet, per­cep­tion of tem­po­ral change is sus­cep­ti­ble to con­tex­tu­al influ­ences such as changes of a sound’s pitch. Using func­tion­al mag­net­ic res­o­nance imag­ing (fMRI), the cur­rent study aimed to inves­ti­gate per­cep­tion of tem­po­ral rate change and pitch-induced illu­so­ry dis­tor­tions. In a 6 × 6 design, human par­tic­i­pants (N=19) lis­tened to fre­quen­cy-mod­u­lat­ed sounds (~4 Hz) that var­ied over time in both mod­u­la­tion rate and pitch. Par­tic­i­pants judged the direc­tion of rate change (‘speed­ing up’ vs. ‘slow­ing down’), while ignor­ing changes in pitch. Behav­ioral­ly, rate judg­ments were strong­ly biased by pitch changes: Par­tic­i­pants per­ceived rate to slow down when pitch decreased and to speed up when pitch increased (‘rate-change illu­sion’). The fMRI data revealed acti­va­tion increas­es with increas­ing task dif­fi­cul­ty in pre-SMA, left puta­men, and right IFG/insula. Impor­tant­ly, acti­va­tion in pre-SMA was linked to the per­cep­tu­al sen­si­tiv­i­ty to dis­crim­i­nate rate changes and, togeth­er with the left puta­men, to rel­a­tive reduc­tions in sus­cep­ti­bil­i­ty to pitch-induced illu­so­ry dis­tor­tions. Right IFG/insula acti­va­tions, how­ev­er, only scaled with task dif­fi­cul­ty. These data offer a dis­tinc­tion between regions whose acti­va­tions scale with per­cep­tu­al sen­si­tiv­i­ty to fea­tures of time (pre-SMA) and those that more gen­er­al­ly sup­port behav­ing in dif­fi­cult lis­ten­ing con­di­tions (IFG/insula). Hence, the data under­score that indi­vid­ual dif­fer­ences in time per­cep­tion can be relat­ed to dif­fer­ent pat­terns of neu­ro­func­tion­al activation.

Ref­er­ences

  • Her­rmann B1, Hen­ry MJ2, Scharinger M2, Obleser J2. Sup­ple­men­tary motor area acti­va­tions pre­dict indi­vid­ual dif­fer­ences in tem­po­ral-change sen­si­tiv­i­ty and its illu­so­ry dis­tor­tions. Neu­roim­age. 2014 Jul 23;101C:370–379. PMID: 25064666. [Open with Read]
Categories
Degraded Acoustics EEG / MEG fMRI Linguistics Papers Publications

New paper out: Simul­ta­ne­ous fMRI–EEG in audi­to­ry cat­e­go­riza­tion by Scharinger et al.

Con­grat­u­la­tions to Obleser lab alum­nus Math­ias Scharinger who this week pub­lished our joint work on simul­ta­ne­ous fMRI–EEG in Fron­tiers in Human Neuroscience!

Simul­ta­ne­ous EEG-fMRI brain sig­na­tures of audi­to­ry cue utilization

by Scharinger, Her­rmann, Nier­haus, & Obleser

See abstract
Opti­mal uti­liza­tion of acoustic cues dur­ing audi­to­ry cat­e­go­riza­tion is a vital skill, par­tic­u­lar­ly when infor­ma­tive cues become occlud­ed or degrad­ed. Con­se­quent­ly, the acoustic envi­ron­ment requires flex­i­ble choos­ing and switch­ing amongst avail­able cues. The present study tar­gets the brain func­tions under­ly­ing such changes in cue uti­liza­tion. Par­tic­i­pants per­formed a cat­e­go­riza­tion task with imme­di­ate feed­back on acoustic stim­uli from two cat­e­gories that var­ied in dura­tion and spec­tral prop­er­ties, while we simul­ta­ne­ous­ly record­ed Blood Oxy­gena­tion Lev­el Depen­dent (BOLD) respons­es in fMRI and elec­troen­cephalo­grams (EEGs). In the first half of the exper­i­ment, cat­e­gories could be best dis­crim­i­nat­ed by spec­tral prop­er­ties. Halfway through the exper­i­ment, spec­tral degra­da­tion ren­dered the stim­u­lus dura­tion the more infor­ma­tive cue. Behav­ioral­ly, degra­da­tion decreased the like­li­hood of uti­liz­ing spec­tral cues. Spec­tral­ly degrad­ing the acoustic sig­nal led to increased alpha pow­er com­pared to non­de­grad­ed stim­uli. The EEG-informed fMRI analy­ses revealed that alpha pow­er cor­re­lat­ed with BOLD changes in infe­ri­or pari­etal cor­tex and right pos­te­ri­or supe­ri­or tem­po­ral gyrus (includ­ing planum tem­po­rale). In both areas, spec­tral degra­da­tion led to a weak­er cou­pling of BOLD response to behav­ioral uti­liza­tion of the spec­tral cue. These data pro­vide con­verg­ing evi­dence from behav­ioral mod­el­ing, elec­tro­phys­i­ol­o­gy, and hemo­dy­nam­ics that (a) increased alpha pow­er medi­ates the inhi­bi­tion of unin­for­ma­tive (here spec­tral) stim­u­lus fea­tures, and that (b) the pari­etal atten­tion net­work sup­ports opti­mal cue uti­liza­tion in audi­to­ry cat­e­go­riza­tion. The results high­light the com­plex cor­ti­cal pro­cess­ing of audi­to­ry cat­e­go­riza­tion under real­is­tic lis­ten­ing chal­lenges.

Ref­er­ences

  • Scharinger M1, Her­rmann B1, Nier­haus T2, Obleser J1. Simul­ta­ne­ous EEG-fMRI brain sig­na­tures of audi­to­ry cue uti­liza­tion. Front Neu­rosci. 2014 Jun 4;8:137. PMID: 24926232. [Open with Read]
Categories
Auditory Perception Auditory Working Memory Events fMRI Neural Oscillations Neural Phase Posters

Come and find us at CNS 2014 in Boston this weekend

The Obleser lab will be pre­sent­ing four posters at this year’s Annu­al Meet­ing of the Cog­ni­tive Neu­ro­science Soci­ety in Boston.

If you hap­pen to be there, come check us out!

A125Hemo­dy­nam­ic sig­na­tures of (mis-)perceiving tem­po­ral change
Her­rmann, Bjoern

C63Tem­po­ral pre­dictabil­i­ty atten­u­ates decay in sen­so­ry memory
Wilsch, Anna

D54Stim­u­lus dis­crim­inabil­i­ty and pre­dic­tive­ness mod­u­late alpha oscil­la­tions in a per­cep­tu­al­ly demand­ing mem­o­ry task
Wöst­mann, Malte

D130Slow acoustic fluc­tu­a­tions entrain low-fre­quen­cy neur­al oscil­la­tions and deter­mine psy­choa­coustic performance
Hen­ry, Molly

Categories
Ageing Auditory Neuroscience Auditory Speech Processing Clinical relevance Degraded Acoustics Executive Functions fMRI Hearing Loss Noise-Vocoded Speech Papers Publications Speech

New paper in press: Erb & Obleser, Fron­tiers in Sys­tems Neuroscience

Julia Erb just got accept­ed the third study of her PhD project,

Upreg­u­la­tion of cog­ni­tive con­trol net­works in old­er adults’ speech comprehension

It will appear in Fron­tiers in Sys­tems Neu­ro­science soon.

The data are an exten­sion (in old­er adults) of Julia’s Jour­nal of Neu­ro­science paper ear­li­er this year.

Ref­er­ences

  • Erb J, Obleser J. Upreg­u­la­tion of cog­ni­tive con­trol net­works in old­er adults’ speech com­pre­hen­sion. Front Syst Neu­rosci. 2013 Dec 24;7:116. PMID: 24399939. [Open with Read]
Categories
Auditory Neuroscience Auditory Perception Auditory Working Memory Executive Functions fMRI Papers Perception Publications

New paper has been pub­lished in Cere­bral Cor­tex by Hen­ry, Her­rmann, & Obleser

When we lis­ten to sounds like speech and music, we have to make sense of dif­fer­ent acoustic fea­tures that vary simul­ta­ne­ous­ly along mul­ti­ple time scales. This means that we, as lis­ten­ers, have to selec­tive­ly attend to, but at the same time selec­tive­ly ignore, sep­a­rate but inter­twined fea­tures of a stimulus.

Brain regions associated with selective attending to and selective ignoring of temporal stimulus features.
Brain regions asso­ci­at­ed with selec­tive attend­ing to and selec­tive ignor­ing of tem­po­ral stim­u­lus fea­tures. (more)

A new­ly pub­lished fMRI study by Mol­ly Hen­ry, Björn Her­rmann, and Jonas Obleser found a net­work of brain regions that respond­ed oppo­site­ly to iden­ti­cal stim­u­lus char­ac­ter­is­tics depend­ing on whether they were rel­e­vant or irrel­e­vant, even when both stim­u­lus fea­tures involved atten­tion to time and tem­po­ral features.

You can check out the arti­cle here:

http://cercor.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/08/23/cercor.bht240.full

Ref­er­ences

  • Hen­ry MJ, Her­rmann B, Obleser J. Selec­tive Atten­tion to Tem­po­ral Fea­tures on Nest­ed Time Scales. Cereb Cor­tex. 2013 Aug 26. PMID: 23978652. [Open with Read]
Categories
Auditory Cortex Auditory Neuroscience Auditory Perception Auditory Speech Processing Degraded Acoustics Executive Functions fMRI Noise-Vocoded Speech Papers Perception Publications Speech

New paper out: Erb, Hen­ry, Eis­ner & Obleser — Jour­nal of Neuroscience

We are proud to announce that PhD stu­dent Julia Erb just came out with a paper issued in Jour­nal  of Neu­ro­science:

The Brain Dynam­ics of Rapid Per­cep­tu­al Adap­ta­tion to Adverse Lis­ten­ing Conditions

Effects of adaptation

Grab it here:

Abstract:

Lis­ten­ers show a remark­able abil­i­ty to quick­ly adjust to degrad­ed speech input. Here, we aimed to iden­ti­fy the neur­al mech­a­nisms of such short-term per­cep­tu­al adap­ta­tion. In a sparse-sam­pling, car­diac-gat­ed func­tion­al mag­net­ic res­o­nance imag­ing (fMRI) acqui­si­tion, human lis­ten­ers heard and repeat­ed back 4‑band-vocod­ed sentences 

Ref­er­ences

  • Erb J, Hen­ry MJ, Eis­ner F, Obleser J. The brain dynam­ics of rapid per­cep­tu­al adap­ta­tion to adverse lis­ten­ing con­di­tions. J Neu­rosci. 2013 Jun 26;33(26):10688–97. PMID: 23804092. [Open with Read]