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Executive Functions Grants Gyrus Angularis Linguistics

New grant award­ed by the Deutsche Forschungs­ge­mein­schaft (DFG)

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Ageing Auditory Cortex Auditory Neuroscience EEG / MEG Hearing Loss Neural Filters Papers Publications

New paper in Nature Com­mu­ni­ca­tions by Tune et al.

We are very excit­ed to share that Oble­ser­lab post­doc Sarah Tune has a new paper in Nature Com­mu­ni­ca­tions. „Neur­al atten­tion­al-fil­ter mech­a­nisms of lis­ten­ing suc­cess in mid­dle-aged and old­er par­tic­i­pants“ is our lat­est and to-date most exten­sive out­put of the lon­gi­tu­di­nal ERC Con­sol­ida­tor project on adap­tive lis­ten­ing in age­ing indi­vid­ual (AUDADAPT — include link to https://auditorycognition.com/erc-audadapt/).

This co-pro­duc­tion with cur­rent (Mohsen Alavash and Jonas Obleser) and for­mer (Lorenz Fiedler) Oble­ser­lab mem­bers, takes an in-depth and inte­gra­tive look at how two of the most exten­sive­ly stud­ied neu­ro­bi­o­log­i­cal atten­tion­al-fil­ter imple­men­ta­tions, alpha pow­er lat­er­al­iza­tion and selec­tive neur­al speech track­ing, relate to one anoth­er and to lis­ten­ing sucess.

Lever­ag­ing our large, rep­re­sen­ta­tive sam­ple of aging lis­ten­ers (N=155, 39–80 years), we show that both neur­al fil­ter imple­men­tatins are robust­ly mod­u­lat­ed by atten­tion but oper­ate sur­prins­ing­ly inde­pen­dent of one another.

In a series of sophis­ti­cat­ed sin­gle-tri­al lin­ear mod­els that include vari­a­tion in neur­al fil­ter strength with­in and between indi­vid­u­als, we demon­strate how the pref­er­en­tial neur­al track­ing of attend­ed ver­sus ignored speech but not alpha lat­er­al­iza­tion boosts lis­ten­ing success.

To learn more, the paper is avail­able here.

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Auditory Neuroscience Auf deutsch Media Perception Publications Speech

Jonas as a guest on the Lan­guage Neu­ro­science Podcast

Thanks to col­league Stephen Wil­son from Van­der­bilt Uni­ver­si­ty for invit­ing me to this conversation!

The episode with Jonas is also avail­able on Spo­ti­fy.

— Ein deutsches automa­tisch erstelltes Tran­skript ist hier erhältlich (alle Über­set­zun­gen ohne Gewähr).

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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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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!

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Uncategorized

New paper in Schiz­o­phre­nia Bul­letin Open: Erb et al., Aber­rant per­cep­tu­al judge­ments on speech-rel­e­vant acoustic fea­tures in hal­lu­ci­na­tion-prone individuals

Hal­lu­ci­na­tions – per­cepts in the absence of an exter­nal stim­u­lus – con­sti­tute an intrigu­ing mod­el of how per­cepts are gen­er­at­ed and how per­cep­tion can fail. They can occur in psy­chot­ic dis­or­ders, but also in the gen­er­al population.
Healthy adults vary­ing in their pre­dis­po­si­tion to hal­lu­ci­na­tions were asked to iden­ti­fy “speech” in ambigu­ous sounds. Lis­ten­ers qual­i­fy­ing as more hal­lu­ci­na­tion-prone in two estab­lished ques­tion­naires per­cep­tu­al­ly down-weight­ed the speech-typ­i­cal low fre­quen­cies (pur­ple sub­group in the fig­ure for illus­tra­tion). Instead, the hal­lu­ci­na­tion-prone indi­vid­u­als pri­ori­tised high fre­quen­cies in their “speech­i­ness” judge­ments of ambigu­ous sounds.
At the same time, the high­er one scored on hal­lu­ci­na­tion-prone­ness, the more con­fi­dent on a giv­en (always ambigu­ous!) tri­al they were. Hal­lu­ci­na­tion-prone­ness and actu­al sen­so­ry evi­dence had a com­pa­ra­ble impact on con­fi­dence, con­sis­tent with the idea that the emer­gence of hal­lu­ci­na­tions is root­ed in an altered per­cep­tion of sounds.
This research may con­tribute to improv­ing ear­ly diag­no­sis and pre­ven­tion strate­gies in
indi­vid­u­als at risk for psychosis.

From the abstract:
“Hal­lu­ci­na­tions con­sti­tute an intrigu­ing mod­el of how per­cepts are gen­er­at­ed and how per­cep­tion can fail. Here, we inves­ti­gate the hypoth­e­sis that an altered per­cep­tu­al weight­ing of the spec­tro-tem­po­ral mod­u­la­tions that char­ac­ter­ize speech con­tributes to the emer­gence of audi­to­ry ver­bal hal­lu­ci­na­tions. Healthy adults (N=168) vary­ing in their pre­dis­po­si­tion for hal­lu­ci­na­tions had to choose the ‘more speech-like’ of two pre­sent­ed ambigu­ous sound tex­tures and give a con­fi­dence judge­ment. Using psy­chophys­i­cal reverse cor­re­la­tion, we quan­ti­fied the con­tri­bu­tion of dif­fer­ent acoustic fea­tures to a listener’s per­cep­tu­al deci­sions. High­er hal­lu­ci­na­tion prone­ness covar­ied with per­cep­tu­al down-weight­ing of speech-typ­i­cal, low-fre­quen­cy acoustic ener­gy while pri­ori­tis­ing high fre­quen­cies. Remark­ably, high­er con­fi­dence judge­ments in sin­gle tri­als depend­ed not only on acoustic evi­dence but also on an individual’s hal­lu­ci­na­tion prone­ness and schizo­typy score. In line with an account of altered per­cep­tu­al pri­ors and dif­fer­en­tial weight­ing of sen­so­ry evi­dence, these results show that hal­lu­ci­na­tion-prone indi­vid­u­als exhib­it qual­i­ta­tive and quan­ti­ta­tive changes in their per­cep­tion of the mod­u­la­tions typ­i­cal for speech.”
The paper is avail­able here.

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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

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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.