Publications by authors named "David Poeppel"

148 Publications

The impact of phase entrainment on auditory detection is highly variable: revisiting a key finding.

Eur J Neurosci 2021 Jun 21. Epub 2021 Jun 21.

Department of Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt am Main, DE.

Ample evidence shows that the human brain carefully tracks acoustic temporal regularities in the input, perhaps by entraining cortical neural oscillations to the rate of the stimulation. To what extent the entrained oscillatory activity influences processing of upcoming auditory events remains debated. Here we revisit a critical finding from Hickok, Farahbod, & Saberi (2015) that demonstrated a clear impact of auditory entrainment on subsequent auditory detection. Participants were asked to detect tones embedded in stationary noise, following a noise that was amplitude modulated at 3 Hz. Tonal targets occurred at various phases relative to the preceding noise modulation. The original study (N=5) showed that the detectability of the tones (presented at near-threshold intensity) fluctuated cyclically at the same rate as the preceding noise modulation. We conducted an exact replication of the original paradigm (N=23) as well as a conceptual replication using a shorter experimental procedure (N=24). Neither experiment revealed significant entrainment effects at the group level. A restricted analysis on the subset of participants (36%) who did show the entrainment effect revealed no consistent phase alignment between detection facilitation and the preceding rhythmic modulation. Interestingly, both experiments showed group-wide presence of a non-cyclic behavioral pattern, wherein participants' detection of the tonal targets was lower at early and late time points of the target period. The two experiments highlight both the sensitivity of the task to elicit oscillatory entrainment and the striking individual variability in performance.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ejn.15367DOI Listing
June 2021

Preferred auditory temporal processing regimes and auditory-motor synchronization.

Psychon Bull Rev 2021 Jun 7. Epub 2021 Jun 7.

Department of Neuroscience, Max-Planck-Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Grüneburgweg 14, 60322, Frankfurt/M, Germany.

Decoding the rich temporal dynamics of complex sounds such as speech is constrained by the underlying neuronal-processing mechanisms. Oscillatory theories suggest the existence of one optimal perceptual performance regime at auditory stimulation rates in the delta to theta range (< 10 Hz), but reduced performance in the alpha range (10-14 Hz) is controversial. Additionally, the widely discussed motor system contribution to timing remains unclear. We measured rate discrimination thresholds between 4 and 15 Hz, and auditory-motor coupling strength was estimated through a behavioral auditory-motor synchronization task. In a Bayesian model comparison, high auditory-motor synchronizers showed a larger range of constant optimal temporal judgments than low synchronizers, with performance decreasing in the alpha range. This evidence for optimal processing in the theta range is consistent with preferred oscillatory regimes in auditory cortex that compartmentalize stimulus encoding and processing. The findings suggest, remarkably, that increased auditory-motor synchronization might extend such an optimal range towards faster rates.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.3758/s13423-021-01933-wDOI Listing
June 2021

Developmental changes in auditory-evoked neural activity underlie infants' links between language and cognition.

Dev Sci 2021 Jun 1. Epub 2021 Jun 1.

Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, USA.

The power and precision with which humans link language to cognition is unique to our species. By 3-4 months of age, infants have already established this link: simply listening to human language facilitates infants' success in fundamental cognitive processes. Initially, this link to cognition is also engaged by a broader set of acoustic stimuli, including non-human primate vocalizations (but not other sounds, like backwards speech). But by 6 months, non-human primate vocalizations no longer confer this cognitive advantage that persists for speech. What remains unknown is the mechanism by which these sounds influence infant cognition, and how this initially broader set of privileged sounds narrows to only human speech between 4 and 6 months. Here, we recorded 4- and 6-month-olds' EEG responses to acoustic stimuli whose behavioral effects on infant object categorization have been previously established: infant-directed speech, backwards speech, and non-human primate vocalizations. We document that by 6 months, infants' 4-9 Hz neural activity is modulated in response to infant-directed speech and non-human primate vocalizations (the two stimuli that initially support categorization), but that 4-9 Hz neural activity is not modulated at either age by backward speech (an acoustic stimulus that doesn't support categorization at either age). These results advance the prior behavioral evidence to suggest that by 6 months, speech and non-human primate vocalizations elicit distinct changes in infants' cognitive state, influencing performance on foundational cognitive tasks such as object categorization.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/desc.13121DOI Listing
June 2021

Are You Your Own Best Judge? On the Self-Evaluation of Singing.

J Voice 2021 May 16. Epub 2021 May 16.

Neuroscience Department, Max-Planck-Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt-am-Main Germany; Max-Planck-NYU, Center for Language, Music, and Emotion, New York, USA, Frankfurt am Main, Germany; Psychology Department, New York University, New York, New York.

Objective: Singers are the first judges of their own performances. Although performers usually share a precise definition of pitch accuracy, do they correctly estimate their own ability to sing in tune? This study examines the accuracy of professional singers' self-evaluations and investigates the profiles of performers/judges.

Methods: Eighteen highly trained soprano singers were invited to evaluate the pitch accuracy of peers' performances, selected from an existing corpus, and their own previously recorded performances in a pairwise comparison paradigm. The statistical model derived from the participants' evaluation of their peers allowed us to estimate the pitch accuracy of participants' own performances and served as a reference to quantify participants' evaluation and self-evaluation abilities.

Results: The results show that participants were surprisingly inaccurate when evaluating themselves. Specifically, most participants overestimated the accuracy of their own performances. Also, we observed a relationship between singing proficiency and self-evaluation ability, as well as the presence of different profiles.

Conclusion: In addition to emphasizing that singers are not necessarily their own best judges, this study suggests potential role(s) for self-evaluation (in)accuracy in the development of exceptional skills.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2021.03.028DOI Listing
May 2021

Two sources of uncertainty independently modulate temporal expectancy.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2021 Apr;118(16)

Department of Neuroscience, Max-Planck-Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt 60322, Germany.

The environment is shaped by two sources of temporal uncertainty: the discrete probability of whether an event will occur and-if it does-the continuous probability of when it will happen. These two types of uncertainty are fundamental to every form of anticipatory behavior including learning, decision-making, and motor planning. It remains unknown how the brain models the two uncertainty parameters and how they interact in anticipation. It is commonly assumed that the discrete probability of whether an event will occur has a fixed effect on event expectancy over time. In contrast, we first demonstrate that this pattern is highly dynamic and monotonically increases across time. Intriguingly, this behavior is independent of the continuous probability of when an event will occur. The effect of this continuous probability on anticipation is commonly proposed to be driven by the hazard rate (HR) of events. We next show that the HR fails to account for behavior and propose a model of event expectancy based on the probability density function of events. Our results hold for both vision and audition, suggesting independence of the representation of the two uncertainties from sensory input modality. These findings enrich the understanding of fundamental anticipatory processes and have provocative implications for many aspects of behavior and its neural underpinnings.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2019342118DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8072397PMC
April 2021

Decoding the Content of Auditory Sensory Memory Across Species.

Cereb Cortex 2021 Jun;31(7):3226-3236

Department of Neuroscience, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong.

In contrast to classical views of working memory (WM) maintenance, recent research investigating activity-silent neural states has demonstrated that persistent neural activity in sensory cortices is not necessary for active maintenance of information in WM. Previous studies in humans have measured putative memory representations indirectly, by decoding memory contents from neural activity evoked by a neutral impulse stimulus. However, it is unclear whether memory contents can also be decoded in different species and attentional conditions. Here, we employ a cross-species approach to test whether auditory memory contents can be decoded from electrophysiological signals recorded in different species. Awake human volunteers (N = 21) were exposed to auditory pure tone and noise burst stimuli during an auditory sensory memory task using electroencephalography. In a closely matching paradigm, anesthetized female rats (N = 5) were exposed to comparable stimuli while neural activity was recorded using electrocorticography from the auditory cortex. In both species, the acoustic frequency could be decoded from neural activity evoked by pure tones as well as neutral frozen noise burst stimuli. This finding demonstrates that memory contents can be decoded in different species and different states using homologous methods, suggesting that the mechanisms of sensory memory encoding are evolutionarily conserved across species.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhab002DOI Listing
June 2021

Modulation Spectra Capture EEG Responses to Speech Signals and Drive Distinct Temporal Response Functions.

eNeuro 2021 Jan-Feb;8(1). Epub 2021 Jan 14.

Department of Neuroscience, Max-Planck-Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt 60322, Germany.

Speech signals have a unique shape of long-term modulation spectrum that is distinct from environmental noise, music, and non-speech vocalizations. Does the human auditory system adapt to the speech long-term modulation spectrum and efficiently extract critical information from speech signals? To answer this question, we tested whether neural responses to speech signals can be captured by specific modulation spectra of non-speech acoustic stimuli. We generated amplitude modulated (AM) noise with the speech modulation spectrum and 1/f modulation spectra of different exponents to imitate temporal dynamics of different natural sounds. We presented these AM stimuli and a 10-min piece of natural speech to 19 human participants undergoing electroencephalography (EEG) recording. We derived temporal response functions (TRFs) to the AM stimuli of different spectrum shapes and found distinct neural dynamics for each type of TRFs. We then used the TRFs of AM stimuli to predict neural responses to the speech signals, and found that (1) the TRFs of AM modulation spectra of exponents 1, 1.5, and 2 preferably captured EEG responses to speech signals in the δ band and (2) the θ neural band of speech neural responses can be captured by the AM stimuli of an exponent of 0.75. Our results suggest that the human auditory system shows specificity to the long-term modulation spectrum and is equipped with characteristic neural algorithms tailored to extract critical acoustic information from speech signals.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/ENEURO.0399-20.2020DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7810259PMC
June 2021

Beyond the Stimulus: A Neurohumanities Approach to Language, Music, and Emotion.

Neuron 2020 11;108(4):597-599

Max-Planck-NYU Center for Language, Music, and Emotion, New York University, New York, NY 10003, USA; Department of Psychology, New York University, New York, NY 10003, USA; Department of Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute Frankfurt (MPIEA), Frankfurt, Germany. Electronic address:

The brain basis of language, music, and emotion can be studied from the perspective of the psychological and cognitive sciences. Does this approach link to concerns of the humanities meaningfully? We outline prospects of developing a genuine neurohumanities research program.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2020.10.021DOI Listing
November 2020

Morning brain: real-world neural evidence that high school class times matter.

Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 2020 12;15(11):1193-1202

Max Planck-NYU Center for Language, Music and Emotion, New York, NY, USA.

Researchers, parents and educators consistently observe a stark mismatch between biologically preferred and socially imposed sleep-wake hours in adolescents, fueling debate about high school start times. We contribute neural evidence to this debate with electroencephalogram data collected from high school students during their regular morning, mid-morning and afternoon classes. Overall, student alpha power was lower when class content was taught via videos than through lectures. Students' resting state alpha brain activity decreased as the day progressed, consistent with adolescents being least attentive early in the morning. During the lessons, students showed consistently worse performance and higher alpha power for early morning classes than for mid-morning classes, while afternoon quiz scores and alpha levels varied. Together, our findings demonstrate that both class activity and class time are reflected in adolescents' brain states in a real-world setting, and corroborate educational research suggesting that mid-morning may be the best time to learn.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsaa142DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7745151PMC
December 2020

Speaking rhythmically can shape hearing.

Nat Hum Behav 2021 01 12;5(1):71-82. Epub 2020 Oct 12.

Department of Psychology, New York University, New York, NY, USA.

Evidence suggests that temporal predictions arising from the motor system can enhance auditory perception. However, in speech perception, we lack evidence of perception being modulated by production. Here we show a behavioural protocol that captures the existence of such auditory-motor interactions. Participants performed a syllable discrimination task immediately after producing periodic syllable sequences. Two speech rates were explored: a 'natural' (individually preferred) and a fixed 'non-natural' (2 Hz) rate. Using a decoding approach, we show that perceptual performance is modulated by the stimulus phase determined by a participant's own motor rhythm. Remarkably, for 'natural' and 'non-natural' rates, this finding is restricted to a subgroup of the population with quantifiable auditory-motor coupling. The observed pattern is compatible with a neural model assuming a bidirectional interaction of auditory and speech motor cortices. Crucially, the model matches the experimental results only if it incorporates individual differences in the strength of the auditory-motor connection.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41562-020-00962-0DOI Listing
January 2021

Crowdsourcing neuroscience: Inter-brain coupling during face-to-face interactions outside the laboratory.

Neuroimage 2021 02 8;227:117436. Epub 2020 Oct 8.

Max Planck - NYU Center for Language, Music and Emotion, New York, USA; Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt, Germany; Department of Psychology, New York University, New York, USA.

When we feel connected or engaged during social behavior, are our brains in fact "in sync" in a formal, quantifiable sense? Most studies addressing this question use highly controlled tasks with homogenous subject pools. In an effort to take a more naturalistic approach, we collaborated with art institutions to crowdsource neuroscience data: Over the course of 5 years, we collected electroencephalogram (EEG) data from thousands of museum and festival visitors who volunteered to engage in a 10-min face-to-face interaction. Pairs of participants with various levels of familiarity sat inside the Mutual Wave Machine-an artistic neurofeedback installation that translates real-time correlations of each pair's EEG activity into light patterns. Because such inter-participant EEG correlations are prone to noise contamination, in subsequent offline analyses we computed inter-brain coupling using Imaginary Coherence and Projected Power Correlations, two synchrony metrics that are largely immune to instantaneous, noise-driven correlations. When applying these methods to two subsets of recorded data with the most consistent protocols, we found that pairs' trait empathy, social closeness, engagement, and social behavior (joint action and eye contact) consistently predicted the extent to which their brain activity became synchronized, most prominently in low alpha (~7-10 Hz) and beta (~20-22 Hz) oscillations. These findings support an account where shared engagement and joint action drive coupled neural activity and behavior during dynamic, naturalistic social interactions. To our knowledge, this work constitutes a first demonstration that an interdisciplinary, real-world, crowdsourcing neuroscience approach may provide a promising method to collect large, rich datasets pertaining to real-life face-to-face interactions. Additionally, it is a demonstration of how the general public can participate and engage in the scientific process outside of the laboratory. Institutions such as museums, galleries, or any other organization where the public actively engages out of self-motivation, can help facilitate this type of citizen science research, and support the collection of large datasets under scientifically controlled experimental conditions. To further enhance the public interest for the out-of-the-lab experimental approach, the data and results of this study are disseminated through a website tailored to the general public (wp.nyu.edu/mutualwavemachine).
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.117436DOI Listing
February 2021

Against the Epistemological Primacy of the Hardware: The Brain from Inside Out, Turned Upside Down.

eNeuro 2020 Jul/Aug;7(4). Epub 2020 Aug 7.

Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt 60322, Germany.

Before he wrote the recent book , the neuroscientist György Buzsáki previewed some of the arguments in a paper written 20 years ago ("The brain-cognitive behavior problem: a retrospective"), now finally published. The principal focus of the paper is the relationship between neuroscience and psychology. The direction in which that research had proceeded, and continues now, is, in his view, fundamentally misguided. Building on the critique, Buzsáki presents arguments for an "inside-out" approach, wherein the study of neurobiological objects has primacy over using psychological concepts to study the brain, and should, in fact, give rise to them. We argue that he is too pessimistic, and actually not quite right, about how the relation between cognition and neuroscience can be studied. Second, we are not in agreement with the normative recommendation of how to proceed: a predominantly brain first, implementation-driven research agenda. Finally, we raise concerns about the philosophical underpinning of the research program he advances. Buzsáki's perspective merits careful examination, and we suggest that it can be linked in a productive way to ongoing research, aligning his inside-out approach with current work that yields convincing accounts of mind and brain.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/ENEURO.0215-20.2020DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7415919PMC
December 2020

Categorical Rhythms Are Shared between Songbirds and Humans.

Curr Biol 2020 09 23;30(18):3544-3555.e6. Epub 2020 Jul 23.

Research Group Computational Auditory Perception, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Grueneburgweg 14, 60322 Frankfurt, Germany; The Center for Science and Society, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA. Electronic address:

Rhythm is a prominent feature of music. Of the infinite possible ways of organizing events in time, musical rhythms are almost always distributed categorically. Such categories can facilitate the transmission of culture-a feature that songbirds and humans share. We compared rhythms of live performances of music to rhythms of wild thrush nightingale and domestic zebra finch songs. In nightingales, but not in zebra finches, we found universal rhythm categories, with patterns that were surprisingly similar to those of music. Isochronous 1:1 rhythms were similarly common. Interestingly, a bias toward small ratios (around 1:2 to 1:3), which is highly abundant in music, was observed also in thrush nightingale songs. Within that range, however, there was no statistically significant bias toward exact integer ratios (1:2 or 1:3) in the birds. High-ratio rhythms were abundant in the nightingale song and are structurally similar to fusion rhythms (ornaments) in music. In both species, preferred rhythms remained invariant over extended ranges of tempos, indicating natural categories. The number of rhythm categories decreased at higher tempos, with a threshold above which rhythm became highly stereotyped. In thrush nightingales, this threshold occurred at a tempo twice faster than in humans, indicating weaker structural constraints and a remarkable motor proficiency. Together, the results suggest that categorical rhythms reflect similar constraints on learning motor skills across species. The saliency of categorical rhythms across humans and thrush nightingales suggests that they promote, or emerge from, the cultural transmission of learned vocalizations. VIDEO ABSTRACT.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2020.06.072DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7511425PMC
September 2020

Understanding Requires Tracking: Noise and Knowledge Interact in Bilingual Comprehension.

J Cogn Neurosci 2020 10 14;32(10):1975-1983. Epub 2020 Jul 14.

New York University.

Understanding speech in noise is a fundamental challenge for speech comprehension. This perceptual demand is amplified in a second language: It is a common experience in bars, train stations, and other noisy environments that degraded signal quality severely compromises second language comprehension. Through a novel design, paired with a carefully selected participant profile, we independently assessed signal-driven and knowledge-driven contributions to the brain bases of first versus second language processing. We were able to dissociate the neural processes driven by the speech signal from the processes that come from speakers' knowledge of their first versus second languages. The neurophysiological data show that, in combination with impaired access to top-down linguistic information in the second language, the locus of bilinguals' difficulty in understanding second language speech in noisy conditions arises from a failure to successfully perform a basic, low-level process: cortical entrainment to speech signals above the syllabic level.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1162/jocn_a_01610DOI Listing
October 2020

Speech rhythms and their neural foundations.

Nat Rev Neurosci 2020 06 6;21(6):322-334. Epub 2020 May 6.

Department of Psychology, New York University, New York, NY, USA.

The recognition of spoken language has typically been studied by focusing on either words or their constituent elements (for example, low-level features or phonemes). More recently, the 'temporal mesoscale' of speech has been explored, specifically regularities in the envelope of the acoustic signal that correlate with syllabic information and that play a central role in production and perception processes. The temporal structure of speech at this scale is remarkably stable across languages, with a preferred range of rhythmicity of 2- 8 Hz. Importantly, this rhythmicity is required by the processes underlying the construction of intelligible speech. A lot of current work focuses on audio-motor interactions in speech, highlighting behavioural and neural evidence that demonstrates how properties of perceptual and motor systems, and their relation, can underlie the mesoscale speech rhythms. The data invite the hypothesis that the speech motor cortex is best modelled as a neural oscillator, a conjecture that aligns well with current proposals highlighting the fundamental role of neural oscillations in perception and cognition. The findings also show motor theories (of speech) in a different light, placing new mechanistic constraints on accounts of the action-perception interface.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41583-020-0304-4DOI Listing
June 2020

Listening to birdsong reveals basic features of rate perception and aesthetic judgements.

Proc Biol Sci 2020 03 25;287(1923):20193010. Epub 2020 Mar 25.

Department of Neurosciences, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Germany.

The timing of acoustic events is central to human speech and music. Tempo tends to be slower in aesthetic contexts: rates in poetic speech and music are slower than non-poetic, running speech. We tested whether a general preference for slower rates can account for this, using birdsong as a stimulus: it structurally resembles human sequences but is unbiased by their production or processing constraints. When listeners selected the birdsong playback tempo that was most pleasing, they showed no bias towards any range of note rates. However, upon hearing a novel stimulus, listeners rapidly formed a robust, implicit memory of its temporal properties, and developed a stimulus-specific preference for the memorized tempo. Interestingly, in birdsong stimuli was strongly determined by individual, internal preferences for rates of 1-2 Hz. This suggests that processing complex sound sequences relies on a default time window, while aesthetic appreciation appears flexible, experience-based and not determined by absolute event rates.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2019.3010DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7126030PMC
March 2020

Asymmetric sampling in human auditory cortex reveals spectral processing hierarchy.

PLoS Biol 2020 03 2;18(3):e3000207. Epub 2020 Mar 2.

Aix Marseille University, Inserm, INS, Inst Neurosci Syst, Marseille, France.

Speech perception is mediated by both left and right auditory cortices but with differential sensitivity to specific acoustic information contained in the speech signal. A detailed description of this functional asymmetry is missing, and the underlying models are widely debated. We analyzed cortical responses from 96 epilepsy patients with electrode implantation in left or right primary, secondary, and/or association auditory cortex (AAC). We presented short acoustic transients to noninvasively estimate the dynamical properties of multiple functional regions along the auditory cortical hierarchy. We show remarkably similar bimodal spectral response profiles in left and right primary and secondary regions, with evoked activity composed of dynamics in the theta (around 4-8 Hz) and beta-gamma (around 15-40 Hz) ranges. Beyond these first cortical levels of auditory processing, a hemispheric asymmetry emerged, with delta and beta band (3/15 Hz) responsivity prevailing in the right hemisphere and theta and gamma band (6/40 Hz) activity prevailing in the left. This asymmetry is also present during syllables presentation, but the evoked responses in AAC are more heterogeneous, with the co-occurrence of alpha (around 10 Hz) and gamma (>25 Hz) activity bilaterally. These intracranial data provide a more fine-grained and nuanced characterization of cortical auditory processing in the 2 hemispheres, shedding light on the neural dynamics that potentially shape auditory and speech processing at different levels of the cortical hierarchy.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3000207DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7067489PMC
March 2020

Modulation change detection in human auditory cortex: Evidence for asymmetric, non-linear edge detection.

Eur J Neurosci 2020 07 9;52(2):2889-2904. Epub 2020 Mar 9.

Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA.

Changes in modulation rate are important cues for parsing acoustic signals, such as speech. We parametrically controlled modulation rate via the correlation coefficient (r) of amplitude spectra across fixed frequency channels between adjacent time frames: broadband modulation spectra are biased toward slow modulate rates with increasing r, and vice versa. By concatenating segments with different r, acoustic changes of various directions (e.g., changes from low to high correlation coefficients, that is, random-to-correlated or vice versa) and sizes (e.g., changes from low to high or from medium to high correlation coefficients) can be obtained. Participants listened to sound blocks and detected changes in correlation while MEG was recorded. Evoked responses to changes in correlation demonstrated (a) an asymmetric representation of change direction: random-to-correlated changes produced a prominent evoked field around 180 ms, while correlated-to-random changes evoked an earlier response with peaks at around 70 and 120 ms, whose topographies resemble those of the canonical P50m and N100m responses, respectively, and (b) a highly non-linear representation of correlation structure, whereby even small changes involving segments with a high correlation coefficient were much more salient than relatively large changes that did not involve segments with high correlation coefficients. Induced responses revealed phase tracking in the delta and theta frequency bands for the high correlation stimuli. The results confirm a high sensitivity for low modulation rates in human auditory cortex, both in terms of their representation and their segregation from other modulation rates.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ejn.14707DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7368805PMC
July 2020

The anticipation of events in time.

Nat Commun 2019 12 20;10(1):5802. Epub 2019 Dec 20.

Neuroscience Department, Max-Planck-Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Grüneburgweg 14, 60322, Frankfurt, Germany.

Humans anticipate events signaled by sensory cues. It is commonly assumed that two uncertainty parameters modulate the brain's capacity to predict: the hazard rate (HR) of event probability and the uncertainty in time estimation which increases with elapsed time. We investigate both assumptions by presenting event probability density functions (PDFs) in each of three sensory modalities. We show that perceptual systems use the reciprocal PDF and not the HR to model event probability density. We also demonstrate that temporal uncertainty does not necessarily grow with elapsed time but can also diminish, depending on the event PDF. Previous research identified neuronal activity related to event probability in multiple levels of the cortical hierarchy (sensory (V4), association (LIP), motor and other areas) proposing the HR as an elementary neuronal computation. Our results-consistent across vision, audition, and somatosensation-suggest that the neurobiological implementation of event anticipation is based on a different, simpler and more stable computation than HR: the reciprocal PDF of events in time.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-13849-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6925136PMC
December 2019

Theta and Gamma Bands Encode Acoustic Dynamics over Wide-Ranging Timescales.

Cereb Cortex 2020 04;30(4):2600-2614

Department of Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, 60322 Frankfurt, Germany.

Natural sounds contain acoustic dynamics ranging from tens to hundreds of milliseconds. How does the human auditory system encode acoustic information over wide-ranging timescales to achieve sound recognition? Previous work (Teng et al. 2017) demonstrated a temporal coding preference for the theta and gamma ranges, but it remains unclear how acoustic dynamics between these two ranges are coded. Here, we generated artificial sounds with temporal structures over timescales from ~200 to ~30 ms and investigated temporal coding on different timescales. Participants discriminated sounds with temporal structures at different timescales while undergoing magnetoencephalography recording. Although considerable intertrial phase coherence can be induced by acoustic dynamics of all the timescales, classification analyses reveal that the acoustic information of all timescales is preferentially differentiated through the theta and gamma bands, but not through the alpha and beta bands; stimulus reconstruction shows that the acoustic dynamics in the theta and gamma ranges are preferentially coded. We demonstrate that the theta and gamma bands show the generality of temporal coding with comparable capacity. Our findings provide a novel perspective-acoustic information of all timescales is discretised into two discrete temporal chunks for further perceptual analysis.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhz263DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7174990PMC
April 2020

Speech fine structure contains critical temporal cues to support speech segmentation.

Neuroimage 2019 11 1;202:116152. Epub 2019 Sep 1.

Department of Neuroscience, Max-Planck-Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt, 60322, Germany; Department of Psychology, New York University, New York, NY, USA, 10003.

Segmenting the continuous speech stream into units for further perceptual and linguistic analyses is fundamental to speech recognition. The speech amplitude envelope (SE) has long been considered a fundamental temporal cue for segmenting speech. Does the temporal fine structure (TFS), a significant part of speech signals often considered to contain primarily spectral information, contribute to speech segmentation? Using magnetoencephalography, we show that the TFS entrains cortical responses between 3 and 6 Hz and demonstrate, using mutual information analysis, that (i) the temporal information in the TFS can be reconstructed from a measure of frame-to-frame spectral change and correlates with the SE and (ii) that spectral resolution is key to the extraction of such temporal information. Furthermore, we show behavioural evidence that, when the SE is temporally distorted, the TFS provides cues for speech segmentation and aids speech recognition significantly. Our findings show that it is insufficient to investigate solely the SE to understand temporal speech segmentation, as the SE and the TFS derived from a band-filtering method convey comparable, if not inseparable, temporal information. We argue for a more synthetic view of speech segmentation - the auditory system groups speech signals coherently in both temporal and spectral domains.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.116152DOI Listing
November 2019

An oscillator model better predicts cortical entrainment to music.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2019 05 24;116(20):10113-10121. Epub 2019 Apr 24.

Department of Psychology, New York University, New York, NY 10003.

A body of research demonstrates convincingly a role for synchronization of auditory cortex to rhythmic structure in sounds including speech and music. Some studies hypothesize that an oscillator in auditory cortex could underlie important temporal processes such as segmentation and prediction. An important critique of these findings raises the plausible concern that what is measured is perhaps not an oscillator but is instead a sequence of evoked responses. The two distinct mechanisms could look very similar in the case of rhythmic input, but an oscillator might better provide the computational roles mentioned above (i.e., segmentation and prediction). We advance an approach to adjudicate between the two models: analyzing the phase lag between stimulus and neural signal across different stimulation rates. We ran numerical simulations of evoked and oscillatory computational models, showing that in the evoked case,phase lag is heavily rate-dependent, while the oscillatory model displays marked phase concentration across stimulation rates. Next, we compared these model predictions with magnetoencephalography data recorded while participants listened to music of varying note rates. Our results show that the phase concentration of the experimental data is more in line with the oscillatory model than with the evoked model. This finding supports an auditory cortical signal that () contains components of both bottom-up evoked responses and internal oscillatory synchronization whose strengths are weighted by their appropriateness for particular stimulus types and () cannot be explained by evoked responses alone.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1816414116DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6525506PMC
May 2019

Spectrotemporal modulation provides a unifying framework for auditory cortical asymmetries.

Nat Hum Behav 2019 04 4;3(4):393-405. Epub 2019 Mar 4.

Department of Psychology, New York University, New York, NY, USA.

The principles underlying functional asymmetries in cortex remain debated. For example, it is accepted that speech is processed bilaterally in auditory cortex, but a left hemisphere dominance emerges when the input is interpreted linguistically. The mechanisms, however, are contested, such as what sound features or processing principles underlie laterality. Recent findings across species (humans, canines and bats) provide converging evidence that spectrotemporal sound features drive asymmetrical responses. Typically, accounts invoke models wherein the hemispheres differ in time-frequency resolution or integration window size. We develop a framework that builds on and unifies prevailing models, using spectrotemporal modulation space. Using signal processing techniques motivated by neural responses, we test this approach, employing behavioural and neurophysiological measures. We show how psychophysical judgements align with spectrotemporal modulations and then characterize the neural sensitivities to temporal and spectral modulations. We demonstrate differential contributions from both hemispheres, with a left lateralization for temporal modulations and a weaker right lateralization for spectral modulations. We argue that representations in the modulation domain provide a more mechanistic basis to account for lateralization in auditory cortex.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41562-019-0548-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6650286PMC
April 2019

A division of labor between power and phase coherence in encoding attention to stimulus streams.

Neuroimage 2019 06 12;193:146-156. Epub 2019 Mar 12.

Department of Neuroscience, Max Plank Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Grüneburgweg 14, 60322, Frankfurt am Main, Germany; Department of Psychology, New York University, 6 Washington Pl., 10003, New York City, New York, USA. Electronic address:

Both time-based (when) and feature-based (what) aspects of attention facilitate behavior, so it is natural to hypothesize additive effects. We tested this conjecture by recording response behavior and electroencephalographic (EEG) data to auditory pitch changes, embedded at different time lags in a continuous sound stream. Participants reacted more rapidly to larger rather than smaller feature change magnitudes (deviancy), as well as to changes appearing after longer rather than shorter waiting times (hazard rate of response times). However, the feature and time dimensions of attention separately contributed to response speed, with no significant interaction. Notably, phase coherence at low frequencies (delta and theta bands, 1-7 Hz) predominantly reflected attention capture by feature changes, while oscillatory power at higher frequency bands, alpha (8-12 Hz) and beta (13-25 Hz) reflected the orienting of attention in time. Power and phase coherence predicted different portions of response speed variance, suggesting a division of labor in encoding sensory attention in complex auditory scenes.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.03.018DOI Listing
June 2019

Spontaneous synchronization to speech reveals neural mechanisms facilitating language learning.

Nat Neurosci 2019 04 4;22(4):627-632. Epub 2019 Mar 4.

Department of Psychology, New York University, New York, NY, USA.

We introduce a deceptively simple behavioral task that robustly identifies two qualitatively different groups within the general population. When presented with an isochronous train of random syllables, some listeners are compelled to align their own concurrent syllable production with the perceived rate, whereas others remain impervious to the external rhythm. Using both neurophysiological and structural imaging approaches, we show group differences with clear consequences for speech processing and language learning. When listening passively to speech, high synchronizers show increased brain-to-stimulus synchronization over frontal areas, and this localized pattern correlates with precise microstructural differences in the white matter pathways connecting frontal to auditory regions. Finally, the data expose a mechanism that underpins performance on an ecologically relevant word-learning task. We suggest that this task will help to better understand and characterize individual performance in speech processing and language learning.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41593-019-0353-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6435400PMC
April 2019

Proactive Sensing of Periodic and Aperiodic Auditory Patterns.

Trends Cogn Sci 2018 Oct;22(10):870-882

Department of Fundamental Neuroscience, University of Geneva, Biotech Campus, Geneva 7 1202, Switzerland. Electronic address:

The ability to predict when something will happen facilitates sensory processing and the ensuing computations. Building on the observation that neural activity entrains to periodic stimulation, leading neurophysiological models imply that temporal predictions rely on oscillatory entrainment. Although they provide a sufficient solution to predict periodic regularities, these models are challenged by a series of findings that question their suitability to account for temporal predictions based on aperiodic regularities. Aiming for a more comprehensive model of how the brain anticipates 'when' in auditory contexts, we emphasize the capacity of motor and higher-order top-down systems to prepare sensory processing in a proactive and temporally flexible manner. Focusing on speech processing, we illustrate how this framework leads to new hypotheses.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2018.08.003DOI Listing
October 2018

There is music in repetition: Looped segments of speech and nonspeech induce the perception of music in a time-dependent manner.

Psychon Bull Rev 2019 Apr;26(2):583-590

Department of Psychology, New York University, 6 Washington Place, Room 275, New York, NY, 10003, USA.

While many techniques are known to music creators, the technique of repetition is one of the most commonly deployed. The mechanism by which repetition is effective as a music-making tool, however, is unknown. Building on the speech-to-song illusion (Deutsch, Henthorn, & Lapidis in Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 129(4), 2245-2252, 2011), we explore a phenomenon in which perception of musical attributes are elicited from repeated, or "looped," auditory material usually perceived as nonmusical such as speech and environmental sounds. We assessed whether this effect holds true for speech stimuli of different lengths; nonspeech sounds (water dripping); and speech signals decomposed into their rhythmic and spectral components. Participants listened to looped stimuli (from 700 to 4,000 ms) and provided continuous as well as discrete perceptual ratings. We show that the regularizing effect of repetition generalizes to nonspeech auditory material and is strongest for shorter clip lengths in the speech and environmental cases. We also find that deconstructed pitch and rhythmic speech components independently elicit a regularizing effect, though the effect across segment duration is different than that for intact speech and environmental sounds. Taken together, these experiments suggest repetition may invoke active internal mechanisms that bias perception toward musical structure.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.3758/s13423-018-1527-5DOI Listing
April 2019

Cortical tracking of constituent structure in language acquisition.

Cognition 2018 12 5;181:135-140. Epub 2018 Sep 5.

New York University, Department of Psychology, 6 Washington Place, New York, NY 10003, USA; Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Grüneburgweg 14, 60322 Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Linguistic units are organized at multiple levels: words combine to form phrases, which combine to form sentences. Ding, Melloni, Zhang, Tian, and Poeppel (2016) discovered that the brain tracks units at each level of hierarchical structure simultaneously. Such tracking requires knowledge of how words and phrases are structurally related. Here we asked how neural tracking emerges as knowledge of phrase structure is acquired. We recorded electrophysiological (MEG) data while adults listened to a miniature language with distributional cues to phrase structure or to a control language which lacked the crucial distributional cues. Neural tracking of phrases developed rapidly, only in the condition in which participants formed mental representations of phrase structure as measured behaviorally. These results illuminate the mechanisms through which abstract mental representations are acquired and processed by the brain.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2018.08.019DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6201233PMC
December 2018

In Spoken Word Recognition, the Future Predicts the Past.

J Neurosci 2018 08 16;38(35):7585-7599. Epub 2018 Jul 16.

Psychology Department.

Speech is an inherently noisy and ambiguous signal. To fluently derive meaning, a listener must integrate contextual information to guide interpretations of the sensory input. Although many studies have demonstrated the influence of prior context on speech perception, the neural mechanisms supporting the integration of subsequent context remain unknown. Using MEG to record from human auditory cortex, we analyzed responses to spoken words with a varyingly ambiguous onset phoneme, the identity of which is later disambiguated at the lexical uniqueness point. Fifty participants (both male and female) were recruited across two MEG experiments. Our findings suggest that primary auditory cortex is sensitive to phonological ambiguity very early during processing at just 50 ms after onset. Subphonemic detail is preserved in auditory cortex over long timescales and re-evoked at subsequent phoneme positions. Commitments to phonological categories occur in parallel, resolving on the shorter timescale of ∼450 ms. These findings provide evidence that future input determines the perception of earlier speech sounds by maintaining sensory features until they can be integrated with top-down lexical information. The perception of a speech sound is determined by its surrounding context in the form of words, sentences, and other speech sounds. Often, such contextual information becomes available later than the sensory input. The present study is the first to unveil how the brain uses this subsequent information to aid speech comprehension. Concretely, we found that the auditory system actively maintains the acoustic signal in auditory cortex while concurrently making guesses about the identity of the words being said. Such a processing strategy allows the content of the message to be accessed quickly while also permitting reanalysis of the acoustic signal to minimize parsing mistakes.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0065-18.2018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6113903PMC
August 2018