Auditory Streaming at the Cocktail Party: Simultaneous Neural and Behavioral Studies of Auditory Attention
We present a pair of simultaneous behavioral-neurophysiological studies in human subjects, in which we manipulate subjects’ attention to different features of an auditory scene. In the first study, we embed a regular acoustic target in an irregular background; in the second study, we pair competing simultaneous regular acoustic streams. Our experimental results reveal that attention to the target, rather than to the background or unattended stream, correlates with a sustained increase in the neural target representation, as measured by magnetoencephalography (MEG), beyond auditory attention’s well-known transient effects on onset responses. The enhancement originates in core auditory cortex and covaries with both behavioral states. Furthermore, for the slower streams, where the rhythmic rate is commensurate with that of speech prosody, the target’s perceptual detectability improves over time, correlating strongly, within subjects, with the target representation’s neural buildup.
KeywordsAttention Magnetoencephalography MEG Buildup Auditory scene analysis
Support has been provided by NIH grants R01DC008342, 1R01DC007657 and (via the CRCNS NSF/NIH joint mechanism) 1R01AG027573. We thank Jonathan Fritz and David Poeppel for comments and discussion. We are grateful to Jeff Walker for excellent technical support.
- Ahmar N, Simon JZ (2005) MEG adaptive noise suppression using fast LMS. In: International IEEE EMBS conference on neural engineering 2005Google Scholar
- Efron B, Tibshirani R (1993) An introduction to the bootstrap. Chapman & Hall/CRC, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Kay SM (1993) Fundamentals of statistical signal processing: estimation theory, Prentice-Hall, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ, USAGoogle Scholar
- Micheyl C, Carlyon RP et al (2005) Performance measures of auditory organization. Auditory Signal Processing. Physiology, Psychoacoustics, and Models. D. Pressnitzer, A. de Cheveigne, S. McAdams and L. Collet. New York, NY, Springer: 203–11Google Scholar
- Moore BCJ, Gockel H (2002) Factors influencing sequential stream segregation. Acta Acustica-Acustica 88:320–333Google Scholar
- Xiang J, Wang Y, Simon JZ (2005) MEG responses to speech and stimuli with speechlike modulations. In: International IEEE EMBS conference on neural engineering 2005Google Scholar