21 research outputs found

    Auditory predictions shape the neural responses to stimulus repetition and sensory change

    Full text link
    Perception is a highly active process relying on the continuous formulation of predictive inferences using short-term sensory memory templates, which are recursively adjusted based on new input. According to this idea, earlier studies have shown that novel stimuli preceded by a higher number of repetitions yield greater novelty responses, indexed by larger mismatch negativity (MMN). However, it is not clear whether this MMN memory trace effect is driven by more adapted responses to prior stimulation or rather by a heightened processing of the unexpected deviant, and only few studies have so far attempted to characterize the functional neuroanatomy of these effects. Here we implemented a modified version of the auditory frequency oddball paradigm that enables modeling the responses to both repeated standard and deviant stimuli. Fifteen subjects underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while their attention was diverted from auditory stimulation. We found that deviants with longer stimulus history of standard repetitions yielded a more robust and widespread activation in the bilateral auditory cortex. Standard tones repetition yielded a pattern of response entangling both suppression and enhancement effects depending on the predictability of upcoming stimuli. We also observed that regularity encoding and deviance detection mapped onto spatially segregated cortical subfields. Our data provide a better understanding of the neural representations underlying auditory repetition and deviance detection effects, and further support that perception operates through the principles of Bayesian predictive coding

    Prenatal daily musical exposure is associated with enhanced neural representation of speech fundamental frequency: Evidence from neonatal frequency-following responses

    Full text link
    Fetal hearing experiences shape the linguistic and musical preferences of neonates. From the very first moment after birth, newborns prefer their native language, recognize their mother's voice and show a greater responsiveness to lullabies presented during pregnancy. Yet, the neural underpinnings of this experience inducing plasticity have remained elusive. Here we recorded the frequency-following response (FFR), an auditory evoked potential elicited to periodic complex sounds, to show that prenatal music exposure is associated to enhanced neural encoding of speech stimuli periodicity, which relates to the perceptual experience of pitch. FFRs were recorded in a sample of 60 healthy neonates born at term and aged 12-72 hours. The sample was divided in two groups according to their prenatal musical exposure (29 daily musically exposed; 31 not-daily musically-exposed). Prenatal exposure was assessed retrospectively by a questionnaire in which mothers reported how often they sung or listened to music through loudspeakers during the last trimester of pregnancy. The FFR was recorded to either a /da/ or an /oa/ speech syllable stimulus. Analyses were centered on stimuli sections of identical duration (113 ms) and fundamental frequency (F0 = 113 Hz). Neural encoding of stimuli periodicity was quantified as the FFR spectral amplitude at the stimulus F0. Data revealed that newborns exposed daily to music exhibit larger spectral amplitudes at F0 as compared to not-daily musically-exposed newborns, regardless of the eliciting stimulus. Our results suggest that prenatal music exposure facilitates the tuning to human speech fundamental frequency, which may support early language processing and acquisition

    The frequency-following response (FFR) to speech stimuli: a normative dataset in healthy newborns

    Full text link
    The Frequency-Following Response (FFR) is a neurophonic auditory evoked potential that reflects the efficient encoding of speech sounds and is disrupted in a range of speech and language disorders. This raises the possibility to use it as a potential biomarker for literacy impairment. However, reference values for comparison with the normal population are not yet established. The present study pursues the collection of a normative database depicting the standard variability of the newborn FFR. FFRs were recorded to /da/ and /ga/ syllables in 46 neonates born at term. Seven parameters were retrieved in the time and frequency domains, and analyzed for normality and differences between stimuli. A comprehensive normative database of the newborn FFR is offered, with most parameters showing normal distributions and similar robust responses for /da/ and /ga/ stimuli. This is the first normative database of the FFR to characterize normal speech sound processing during the immediate postnatal days, and corroborates the possibility to record the FFRs in neonates at the maternity hospital room. This normative database constitutes the first step towards the detection of early FFR abnormalities in newborns that would announce later language impairment, allowing early preventive measures from the first days of life

    Increased subcortical neural responses to repeating auditory stimulation in children with autism spectrum disorder

    Full text link
    Recent research has highlighted atypical reactivity to sensory stimulation as a core symptom in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, little is known about the dysfunctional neurological mechanisms underlying these aberrant sensitivities. Here we tested the hypothesis that the ability to filter out auditory repeated information is deficient in children with ASD already from subcortical levels, yielding to auditory sensitivities. We recorded the frequency-following response (FFR), a non-invasive measure of the neural tracking of the periodic characteristics of a sound in the subcortical auditory system, to compare repetition related effects in children with ASD and typically developing children. Results revealed an increase of the FFR with stimulus repetition in children with ASD compared to their peers. Moreover, such defective early sensory encoding of stimulus redundancy was associated with sensory overload. These results highlight that auditory sensitivities in ASD emerge already at the level of the subcortical auditory system

    Altered event-related potentials and theta oscillations index auditory working memory deficits in healthy aging

    Get PDF
    Speech comprehension deficits constitute a major issue for an increasingly aged population, as they may lead older individuals to social isolation. Since conversation requires constant monitoring, updating and selecting information, auditory working memory decline, rather than impoverished hearing acuity, has been suggested a core factor. However, in stark contrast to the visual domain, the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying auditory working memory deficits in healthy aging remain poorly understood, especially those related to on-the-fly information processing under increasing load. Therefore, we investigated the behavioral costs and electrophysiological differences associated with healthy aging and working memory load during continuous auditory processing. We recorded EEG activity from 27 younger (鈭25 years) and 29 older (鈭70 years) participants during their performance on an auditory version of the n-back task with speech syllables and 2 workload levels (1-back; 2-back). Behavioral measures were analyzed as indices of function; event-related potentials as proxies for sensory and cognitive processes; and theta oscillatory power as a reflection of memory and central executive function. Our results show age-related differences in auditory information processing within a latency range that is consistent with a series of impaired functions, from sensory gating to cognitive resource allocation during constant information updating, especially under high load

    Deficient neural encoding of speech sounds in term neonates born after fetal growth restriction

    Get PDF
    Infants born after fetal growth restriction (FGR) an obstetric condition defined as the failure to achieve the genetic growth potential are prone to neurodevelopmental delays, with language being one of the major affected areas. Yet, while verbal comprehension and expressive language impairments have been observed in FGR infants, children and even adults, specific related impairments at birth, such as in the ability to encode the sounds of speech, necessary for language acquisition, remain to be disclosed. Here, we used the frequency-following response (FFR), a brain potential correlate of the neural phase locking to complex auditory stimuli, to explore the encoding of speech sounds in FGR neonates. Fifty-three neonates born with FGR and 48 controls born with weight adequate-for-gestational age (AGA) were recruited. The FFR was recorded to the consonant-vowel stimulus (/da/) during sleep and quantified as the spectral amplitude to the fundamental frequency of the syllable and its signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). The outcome was available in 45 AGA and 51 FGR neonates, yielding no differences for spectral amplitudes. However, SNR was strongly attenuated in the FGR group compared to the AGA group at the vowel region of the stimulus. These findings suggest that FGR population present a deficit in the neural pitch tracking of speech sounds already present at birth. Our results pave the way for future research on the potential clinical use of the FFR in this population, so that if confirmed, a disrupted FFR recorded at birth may help deriving FGR neonates at risk for postnatal follow-ups

    Standard tone stability as a manipulation of precision in the oddball paradigm: Modulation of prediction error responses to fixed-probability deviants

    Get PDF
    Electrophysiological sensory deviance detection signals, such as the mismatch negativity (MMN), have been interpreted from the predictive coding framework as manifestations of prediction error (PE). From a frequentist perspective of the classic oddball paradigm, deviant stimuli are unexpected because of their low probability. However, the amount of PE elicited by a stimulus can be dissociated from its probability of occurrence: when the observer cannot make confident predictions, any event holds little surprise value, no matter how improbable. Here we tested the hypothesis that the magnitude of the neural response elicited to an improbable sound (D) would scale with the precision of the prediction derived from the repetition of another sound (S), by manipulating repetition stability. We recorded the Electroencephalogram (EEG) from 20 participants while passively listening to 4 types of isochronous pure tone sequences differing in the probability of the S tone (880 Hz) while holding constant the probability of the D tone [1,046 Hz; p(D) = 1/11]: Oddball [p(S) = 10/11]; High confidence (7/11); Low confidence (4/11); and Random (1/11). Tones of 9 different frequencies were equiprobably presented as fillers [p(S) C p(D) C p(F) = 1]. Using a mass-univariate non-parametric, cluster-based correlation analysis controlling for multiple comparisons, we found that the amplitude of the deviant-elicited ERP became more negative with increasing S probability, in a time-electrode window consistent with the MMN (ca. 120- 200 ms; frontal), suggesting that the strength of a PE elicited to an improbable event indeed increases with the precision of the predictive model

    Neural encoding of voice pitch and formant structure at birth as revealed by frequency-following responses

    Get PDF
    Detailed neural encoding of voice pitch and formant structure plays a crucial role in speech perception, and is of key importance for an appropriate acquisition of the phonetic repertoire in infants since birth. However, the extent to what newborns are capable of extracting pitch and formant structure information from the temporal envelope and the temporal fine structure of speech sounds, respectively, remains unclear. Here, we recorded the frequency-following response (FFR) elicited by a novel two-vowel, rising-pitch-ending stimulus to simultaneously characterize voice pitch and formant structure encoding accuracy in a sample of neonates and adults. Data revealed that newborns tracked changes in voice pitch reliably and no differently than adults, but exhibited weaker signatures of formant structure encoding, particularly at higher formant frequency ranges. Thus, our results indicate a well-developed encoding of voice pitch at birth, while formant structure representation is maturing in a frequency-dependent manner. Furthermore, we demonstrate the feasibility to assess voice pitch and formant structure encoding within clinical evaluation times in a hospital setting, and suggest the possibility to use this novel stimulus as a tool for longitudinal developmental studies of the auditory system

    Early change detection in humans as revealed by auditory brainstem and middle-latency evoked potentials

    Get PDF
    International audienceThe ability to detect unexpected novel stimuli is crucial for survival, as it might urge a prompt adaptive response. Human auditory novelty detection has been associated to the mismatch negativity long-latency auditory-evoked potential, peaking at 100鈥200 ms. Yet, recent animal studies showing novelty responses at a very short latency (about 20鈥30 ms) in individual neurons already at the level of the midbrain and thalamus suggest that novelty detection might be a basic principle of the functional organization of the auditory system, expanding from lower levels in the brainstem along the auditory pathway up to higher-order areas of the cerebral cortex. To test this suggestion, we here measured auditory brainstem and middle latency response (MLR) to frequency novel stimuli embedded in an oddball sequence. To oversee refractoriness confounds a 'control block' was used. The results showed that occasional changes in auditory frequency information were detected as early as 30 ms (Pa waveform of the MLR) after stimulus onset. The control block precluded these effects as resulting merely from refractoriness, altogether supporting the notion of 'true' early auditory change detection in humans, matching the latency range of auditory novelty responses described in individual neurons of subhuman species. Our results suggest that auditory change detection of frequency information is a multistage process that occurs at the primary auditory cortex and is transmitted to the higher levels of the auditory pathway
    corecore