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Keywords:

  • Auditory scene analysis;
  • Auditory cortex;
  • Context;
  • Sensory memory;
  • Event-related potentials;
  • Scalp topography

Abstract

We examined whether effects of prior experience are mediated by distinct brain processes from those processing current stimulus features. We recorded event-related potentials (ERPs) during an auditory stream segregation task that presented an adaptation sequence with a small, intermediate, or large frequency separation between low and high tones (Δf), followed by a test sequence with intermediate Δf. Perception of two streams during the test was facilitated by small prior Δf and by prior perception of two streams and was accompanied by more positive ERPs. The scalp topography of these perception-related changes in ERPs was different from that observed for ERP modulations due to increasing the current Δf. These results reveal complex interactions between stimulus-driven activity and temporal-context-based processes and suggest a complex set of brain areas involved in modulating perception based on current and previous experience.