Present address: Universitätsklinikum Halle (Saale), Klinik für HNO-Heilkunde, Magdeburger Straße 12, 06112 Halle (Saale), Germany.
Neural representations of auditory input accommodate to the context in a dynamically changing acoustic environment
Article first published online: 12 DEC 2008
© The Authors (2008). Journal Compilation © Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and Blackwell Publishing Ltd
European Journal of Neuroscience
Volume 29, Issue 1, pages 205–211, January 2009
How to Cite
Rahne, T. and Sussman, E. (2009), Neural representations of auditory input accommodate to the context in a dynamically changing acoustic environment. European Journal of Neuroscience, 29: 205–211. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2008.06561.x
- Issue published online: 22 DEC 2008
- Article first published online: 12 DEC 2008
- Received 10 June 2008, revised 30 October 2008, accepted 2 November 2008
- auditory stream segregation;
- event-related potentials;
- mismatch negativity;
The auditory scene is dynamic, changing from 1 min to the next as sound sources enter and leave our space. How does the brain resolve the problem of maintaining neural representations of the distinct yet changing sound sources? We used an auditory streaming paradigm to test the dynamics of multiple sound source representation, when switching between integrated and segregated sound streams. The mismatch negativity (MMN) component of event-related potentials was used as index of change detection to observe stimulus-driven modulation of the ongoing sound organization. Probe tones were presented randomly within ambiguously organized sound sequences to reveal whether the neurophysiological representation of the sounds was integrated (no MMN) or segregated (MMN). The pattern of results demonstrated context-dependent responses to a single tone that was modulated in dynamic fashion as the auditory environment rapidly changed from integrated to segregated sounds. This suggests a rapid form of auditory plasticity in which the longer-term sound context influences the current state of neural activity when it is ambiguous. These results demonstrate stimulus-driven modulation of neural activity that accommodates to the dynamically changing acoustic environment.