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Selective Attention Modulates Activity in the Human Auditory Cortex

14.11.2007
The results of a study conducted by researchers of the Helsinki University of Technology TKK Laboratory of Computational Engineering (Jaakko Kauramäki, Iiro Jääskeläinen and Mikko Sams) indicate that selective attention has significant effects on the activity of the human auditory cortex.

The neural basis of selective attention has been one of the greatest unresolved questions in science.

The results were obtained by measuring electroencephalographic (EEG) event-related potentials in healthy subjects performing a task that requires selective attention. The effects of selective attention have previously been explained by a simple gain model suggesting that the amplitude of signals measured in the human auditory cortex is increased to the same extent regardless of the type of auditory stimuli.

Contrary to previous findings, the results of this study indicate that during selective attention, in addition to signal amplification, the neurons in the human auditory cortex tune into the frequency band attended to by the subjects. This facilitates the detection of target tones from noise; the improved signal-to-noise ratio facilitates the detection of the relevant auditory features in different situations.

Riikka Hopiavaara | alfa
Further information:
http://www.tkk.fi
http://www.plosone.org/doi/pone.0000909

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