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40Hz-Transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) selectively modulates speech perception


Rufener, Katharina Simone; Zaehle, Tino; Oechslin, Mathias S; Meyer, Martin (2016). 40Hz-Transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) selectively modulates speech perception. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 101:18-24.

Abstract

The present study investigated the functional relevance of gamma oscillations for the processing of rapidly changing acoustic features in speech signals. For this purpose we analyzed repetition-induced perceptual learning effects in 18 healthy adult participants. The participants received either 6Hz or 40Hz tACS over the bilateral auditory cortex, while repeatedly performing a phoneme categorization task. In result, we found that 40Hz tACS led to a specific alteration in repetition-induced perceptual learning. While participants in the non-stimulated control group as well as those in the experimental group receiving 6Hz tACS considerably improved their perceptual performance, the application of 40Hz tACS selectively attenuated the repetition-induced improvement in phoneme categorization abilities. Our data provide causal evidence for a functional relevance of gamma oscillations during the perceptual learning of acoustic speech features. Moreover, we demonstrate that even less than twenty minutes of alternating current stimulation below the individual perceptual threshold is sufficient to affect speech perception. This finding is relevant in that this novel approach might have implications with respect to impaired speech processing in dyslexics and older adults.

Abstract

The present study investigated the functional relevance of gamma oscillations for the processing of rapidly changing acoustic features in speech signals. For this purpose we analyzed repetition-induced perceptual learning effects in 18 healthy adult participants. The participants received either 6Hz or 40Hz tACS over the bilateral auditory cortex, while repeatedly performing a phoneme categorization task. In result, we found that 40Hz tACS led to a specific alteration in repetition-induced perceptual learning. While participants in the non-stimulated control group as well as those in the experimental group receiving 6Hz tACS considerably improved their perceptual performance, the application of 40Hz tACS selectively attenuated the repetition-induced improvement in phoneme categorization abilities. Our data provide causal evidence for a functional relevance of gamma oscillations during the perceptual learning of acoustic speech features. Moreover, we demonstrate that even less than twenty minutes of alternating current stimulation below the individual perceptual threshold is sufficient to affect speech perception. This finding is relevant in that this novel approach might have implications with respect to impaired speech processing in dyslexics and older adults.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
08 University Research Priority Programs > Dynamics of Healthy Aging
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:DoktoratPsych Erstautor
Date:11 January 2016
Deposited On:29 Jan 2016 12:57
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 20:05
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0167-8760
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2016.01.002
PubMed ID:26779822

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