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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.


  • 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]
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

Auditory Working Memory Degraded Acoustics EEG / MEG Executive Functions Neural Oscillations Papers Publications Speech

New Paper out: Wilsch, Hen­ry, Her­rmann et al.

Quite recent­ly Cere­bral Cor­tex published

Alpha Oscil­la­to­ry Dynam­ics Index Tem­po­ral Expec­ta­tion Ben­e­fits in Work­ing Memory

by Anna Wilsch, Mol­ly J Hen­ry, Björn Her­rmann, Burkhard Maess, and Jonas Obleser.

Check the abstract below or fol­low that link to get the full arti­cle.

Enhanced alpha pow­er com­pared with a base­line can reflect states of increased cog­ni­tive load, for exam­ple, when lis­ten­ing to speech in noise. Can knowl­edge about “when” to lis­ten (tem­po­ral expec­ta­tions) poten­tial­ly coun­ter­act cog­ni­tive load and con­comi­tant­ly reduce alpha? The cur­rent mag­ne­toen­cephalog­ra­phy (MEG) exper­i­ment induced cog­ni­tive load using an audi­to­ry delayed-match­ing-to-sam­ple task with 2 syl­la­bles S1 and S2 pre­sent­ed in speech-shaped noise. Tem­po­ral expec­ta­tion about the occur­rence of S1 was manip­u­lat­ed in 3 dif­fer­ent cue con­di­tions: “Neu­tral” (unin­for­ma­tive about forepe­ri­od), “ear­ly-cued” (short forepe­ri­od), and “late-cued” (long forepe­ri­od). Alpha pow­er through­out the tri­al was high­est when the cue was unin­for­ma­tive about the onset time of S1 (neu­tral) and low­est for the late-cued con­di­tion. This alpha-reduc­ing effect of late com­pared with neu­tral cues was most evi­dent dur­ing mem­o­ry reten­tion in noise and orig­i­nat­ed pri­mar­i­ly in the right insu­la. More­over, indi­vid­ual alpha effects dur­ing reten­tion account­ed best for observed indi­vid­ual per­for­mance dif­fer­ences between late-cued and neu­tral con­di­tions, indi­cat­ing a trade­off between allo­ca­tion of neur­al resources and the ben­e­fits drawn from tem­po­ral cues. Over­all, the results indi­cate that tem­po­ral expec­ta­tions can facil­i­tate the encod­ing of speech in noise, and con­comi­tant­ly reduce neur­al mark­ers of cog­ni­tive load.


  • Wilsch A, Hen­ry MJ, Her­rmann B, Maess B, Obleser J. Alpha Oscil­la­to­ry Dynam­ics Index Tem­po­ral Expec­ta­tion Ben­e­fits in Work­ing Mem­o­ry. Cereb Cor­tex. 2014 Jan 31. PMID: 24488943. [Open with Read]
Editorial Notes Events Media Publications

SNAP sum­ma­ry and impressions

The SNAP work­shop (Sig­nal and Noise along the Audi­to­ry Path­way) is behind us.

It is safe to say that it has been a great suc­cess. We will care­ful­ly look into the eval­u­a­tion forms you pro­vid­ed, and we will inform here in due course whether and when a 2nd SNAP (poten­tial­ly 2015) is in the making.

Let us thank all of you who made SNAP hap­pen. It turned a fun and suc­cess­ful sci­en­tif­ic year 2013 into an even greater one. Thank you! We hope to see you soon again, somewhere.

Now, here are some impres­sions of SNAP 2013:

P.S. Here you find Jonas’ clos­ing sum­ma­ry notes:

SNAP 2013 ad hoc sum­ma­ry — Jonas Obleser


Editorial Notes Events

SNAP Day 1 is behind us

A great day 1 of the SNAP work­shop is behind us. It could go on for­ev­er, if it would be accord­ing to me.

While Thomas Lun­ner was sad­ly stopped short by new pro­gram com­mit­tee mem­ber, pan-Euro­pean storm ras­cal “Xaver”, 45 oth­ers made it suc­ces­ful­ly to the Max Planck in Leipzig, wit­ness­ing Ingrid John­srude, Torsten Dau, Alexan­dra Ben­dix­en, Maria Chait, Jonathan Peelle, and Peter Lakatos bring­ing the house down.

With the speak­ers’ sup­port, I will poten­tial­ly post a sum­ma­ry pdf of my clos­ing remarks, which I will give tomor­row, for pub­lic access.

As for now, feel free to fol­low Car­olyn McGet­ti­gan and Jonathan Peelle cov­er­ing some of it as SNAP con­tin­ues into day 2 (#SNAPleipzig).

SNAP 2013 Group Photo

Auditory Cortex Auditory Neuroscience Auditory Perception Auditory Speech Processing EEG / MEG Neural Oscillations Neural Phase Papers Publications

New paper in press: Hen­ry & Obleser, PLOS ONE [Update]

Watch this space and the PLOS ONE web­site for a forth­com­ing arti­cle by Mol­ly Hen­ry and me;

Dis­so­cia­ble neur­al response sig­na­tures for slow ampli­tude and fre­quen­cy mod­u­la­tion in human audi­to­ry cortex

Hark­ing back at what we had argued ini­tial­ly in our 2012 Fron­tiers op’ed piece (togeth­er with Björn Her­rmann), Mol­ly presents neat evi­dence for dis­so­cia­ble cor­ti­cal sig­na­tures of slow ampli­tude ver­sus fre­quen­cy mod­u­la­tion. These cor­ti­cal sig­na­tures poten­tial­ly pro­vide an effi­cient means to dis­sect simul­ta­ne­ous­ly com­mu­ni­cat­ed slow tem­po­ral and spec­tral infor­ma­tion in acoustic com­mu­ni­ca­tion signals.


Paper is avail­able here.


  • Hen­ry MJ, Obleser J. Dis­so­cia­ble neur­al response sig­na­tures for slow ampli­tude and fre­quen­cy mod­u­la­tion in human audi­to­ry cor­tex. PLoS One. 2013 Oct 29;8(10):e78758. PMID: 24205309. [Open with Read]
Auditory Perception EEG / MEG Media Neural Oscillations Neural Phase Perception Publications

3sat fea­tures neur­al oscil­la­tions on TV

Ger­man pub­lic tele­vi­sion broad­cast­er 3sat fea­tured our research on neur­al oscil­la­tions (see our PNAS Paper) in its series nano .

Unfor­tu­nate­ly it’s only in Ger­man. How­ev­er, have fun watch­ing it:

[Update] If the embed­ded video is not work­ing for you, watch it on the 3sat web­site (Flash).


  • Hen­ry MJ, Obleser J. Fre­quen­cy mod­u­la­tion entrains slow neur­al oscil­la­tions and opti­mizes human lis­ten­ing behav­ior. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Dec 4;109(49):20095–100. PMID: 23151506. [Open with Read]
Auditory Neuroscience Auditory Perception Degraded Acoustics Executive Functions Papers Publications

Lis­ten­ing: The strat­e­gy mat­ters [Update]

In press on Neuropsychologia

Thal­a­m­ic and pari­etal brain mor­phol­o­gy pre­dicts audi­to­ry cat­e­go­ry learning


Cat­e­go­riz­ing sounds is vital for adap­tive human behav­ior. Accord­ing­ly, chang­ing lis­ten­ing sit­u­a­tions (exter­nal noise, but also periph­er­al hear­ing loss in aging) require lis­ten­ers to flex­i­bly adjust their cat­e­go­riza­tion strate­gies, e.g., switch amongst avail­able acoustic cues. How­ev­er, lis­ten­ers dif­fer con­sid­er­ably in these adap­tive capa­bil­i­ties. For this rea­son, we employed vox­el-based mor­phom­e­try (VBM) in our study (Neu­ropsy­cholo­gia, In press), in order to assess the degree to which indi­vid­ual brain mor­phol­o­gy is pre­dic­tive of such adap­tive lis­ten­ing behavior.


  • Scharinger M1, Hen­ry MJ2, Erb J2, Mey­er L3, Obleser J2. Thal­a­m­ic and pari­etal brain mor­phol­o­gy pre­dicts audi­to­ry cat­e­go­ry learn­ing. Neu­ropsy­cholo­gia. 2014 Jan;53:75–83. PMID: 24035788. [Open with Read]