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The human auditory brainstem response to running speech reveals a subcortical mechanism for selective attention

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Title: The human auditory brainstem response to running speech reveals a subcortical mechanism for selective attention
Authors: Forte, AE
Etard, O
Reichenbach, J
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Humans excel at selectively listening to a target speaker in background noise such as competing voices. While the encoding of speech in the auditory cortex is modulated by selective attention, it remains debated whether such modulation occurs already in subcortical auditory structures. Investigating the contribution of the human brainstem to attention has, in particular, been hindered by the tiny amplitude of the brainstem response. Its measurement normally requires a large number of repetitions of the same short sound stimuli, which may lead to a loss of attention and to neural adaptation. Here we develop a mathematical method to measure the auditory brainstem response to running speech, an acoustic stimulus that does not repeat and that has a high ecological validity. We employ this method to assess the brainstem's activity when a subject listens to one of two competing speakers, and show that the brainstem response is consistently modulated by attention.
Issue Date: 10-Oct-2017
Date of Acceptance: 14-Sep-2017
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/50280
DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.27203
ISSN: 2050-084X
Publisher: eLife Sciences Publications Ltd
Journal / Book Title: eLife
Volume: 6
Copyright Statement: © 2017, Forte et al. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Sponsor/Funder: Engineering & Physical Science Research Council (E
Funder's Grant Number: EP/M026728/1
Keywords: auditory attention
auditory brainstem
auditory scene analysis
Publication Status: Published online
Open Access location: http://www.biorxiv.org/content/early/2017/07/25/167718
Article Number: e27203
Appears in Collections:Bioengineering
Faculty of Engineering