Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Human Brainstem Exhibits higher Sensitivity and Specificity than Auditory-Related Cortex to Short-Term Phonetic Discrimination Learning


Elmer, Stefan; Hausheer, Marcela; Albrecht, Joëlle; Kühnis, Jürg (2017). Human Brainstem Exhibits higher Sensitivity and Specificity than Auditory-Related Cortex to Short-Term Phonetic Discrimination Learning. Scientific Reports, 7(1):7455.

Abstract

Phonetic discrimination learning is an active perceptual process that operates under the influence of cognitive control mechanisms by increasing the sensitivity of the auditory system to the trained stimulus attributes. It is assumed that the auditory cortex and the brainstem interact in order to refine how sounds are transcribed into neural codes. Here, we evaluated whether these two computational entities are prone to short-term functional changes, whether there is a chronological difference in malleability, and whether short-term training suffices to alter reciprocal interactions. We performed repeated cortical (i.e., mismatch negativity responses, MMN) and subcortical (i.e., frequency-following response, FFR) EEG measurements in two groups of participants who underwent one hour of phonetic discrimination training or were passively exposed to the same stimulus material. The training group showed a distinctive brainstem energy reduction in the trained frequency-range (i.e., first formant), whereas the passive group did not show any response modulation. Notably, brainstem signal change correlated with the behavioral improvement during training, this result indicating a close relationship between behavior and underlying brainstem physiology. Since we did not reveal group differences in MMN responses, results point to specific short-term brainstem changes that precede functional alterations in the auditory cortex.

Abstract

Phonetic discrimination learning is an active perceptual process that operates under the influence of cognitive control mechanisms by increasing the sensitivity of the auditory system to the trained stimulus attributes. It is assumed that the auditory cortex and the brainstem interact in order to refine how sounds are transcribed into neural codes. Here, we evaluated whether these two computational entities are prone to short-term functional changes, whether there is a chronological difference in malleability, and whether short-term training suffices to alter reciprocal interactions. We performed repeated cortical (i.e., mismatch negativity responses, MMN) and subcortical (i.e., frequency-following response, FFR) EEG measurements in two groups of participants who underwent one hour of phonetic discrimination training or were passively exposed to the same stimulus material. The training group showed a distinctive brainstem energy reduction in the trained frequency-range (i.e., first formant), whereas the passive group did not show any response modulation. Notably, brainstem signal change correlated with the behavioral improvement during training, this result indicating a close relationship between behavior and underlying brainstem physiology. Since we did not reveal group differences in MMN responses, results point to specific short-term brainstem changes that precede functional alterations in the auditory cortex.

Statistics

Citations

Dimensions.ai Metrics
1 citation in Web of Science®
1 citation in Scopus®
1 citation in Microsoft Academic
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

3 downloads since deposited on 08 Feb 2018
3 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:7 August 2017
Deposited On:08 Feb 2018 15:54
Last Modified:01 Mar 2018 01:58
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2045-2322
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-07426-y
PubMed ID:28785043

Download

Download PDF  'Human Brainstem Exhibits higher Sensitivity and Specificity than Auditory-Related Cortex to Short-Term Phonetic Discrimination Learning'.
Preview
Content: Published Version
Filetype: PDF
Size: 1MB
View at publisher
Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)