Come and find us at CNS 2014 in Boston this weekend

The Obleser lab will be pre­sent­ing four posters at this year’s Annual Meet­ing of the Cog­ni­tive Neu­ro­science Soci­ety in Boston.

If you hap­pen to be there, come check us out!

A125Hemo­dy­namic sig­na­tures of (mis-)perceiving tem­po­ral change
Her­rmann, Bjoern

C63Tem­po­ral pre­dictabil­ity atten­u­ates decay in sen­sory mem­ory
Wilsch, Anna

D54Stim­u­lus dis­crim­inabil­ity and pre­dic­tive­ness mod­u­late alpha oscil­la­tions in a per­cep­tu­ally demand­ing mem­ory task
Wöst­mann, Malte

D130Slow acoustic fluc­tu­a­tions entrain low-frequency neural oscil­la­tions and deter­mine psy­choa­coustic per­for­mance
Henry, Molly

04. April 2014 by Dr. Jonas Obleser
Categories: Auditory Perception, Auditory Working Memory, Events, fMRI, Neural Oscillations, Neural Phase, Posters | Tags: , , , , |

Wel­come Sung-Joo Lim & Alex Brandmeyer

We wel­come Sung-Joo Lim (KR) & Alex Brand­meyer (US) as new post­doc­toral researchers in the group.

Sung-Joo very recently received her Ph.D. from the Carnegie Mel­lon Uni­ver­sity, Pitts­burgh, PA (US), after

Inves­ti­gat­ing the Neural Basis of Sound Cat­e­gory Learn­ing within a Nat­u­ral­is­tic Inci­den­tal Task

See her abstract
Adults have noto­ri­ous dif­fi­culty learn­ing non-native speech cat­e­gories even with exten­sive train­ing with stan­dard tasks pro­vid­ing explicit trial-by-trial feed­back. Recent research in gen­eral audi­tory cat­e­gory learn­ing demon­strates that videogame-based train­ing, which incor­po­rates fea­tures that model the nat­u­ral­is­tic learn­ing envi­ron­ment, leads to fast and robust learn­ing of sound cat­e­gories. Unlike stan­dard tasks, the videogame par­a­digm does not require overt cat­e­go­riza­tion of or explicit atten­tion to sounds; lis­ten­ers learn sounds inci­den­tally as the game encour­ages the func­tional use of sounds in an envi­ron­ment, in which actions and feed­back are tightly linked to task suc­cess. These char­ac­ter­is­tics may engage rein­force­ment learn­ing sys­tems, which can poten­tially gen­er­ate inter­nal feed­back sig­nals from the stria­tum. How­ever, the influ­ence of stri­atal sig­nals on per­cep­tual learn­ing and plas­tic­ity online dur­ing train­ing has yet to be estab­lished. This dis­ser­ta­tion work focuses on the pos­si­bil­ity that this type of train­ing can lead to behav­ioral learn­ing of non-native speech cat­e­gories, and on the inves­ti­ga­tion of neural processes pos­tu­lated to be sig­nif­i­cant for induc­ing inci­den­tal learn­ing of sound cat­e­gories within the more nat­u­ral­is­tic train­ing envi­ron­ment by using fMRI. Over­all, our results sug­gest that reward-related sig­nals from the stria­tum influ­ence per­cep­tual rep­re­sen­ta­tions in regions asso­ci­ated with the pro­cess­ing of reli­able infor­ma­tion that can improve per­for­mance within a nat­u­ral­is­tic learn­ing task.

Alex very recently received his Ph.D. from the Rad­boud Uni­ver­sity of Nijmegen (NL), address­ing his the­sis topic with

Audi­tory brain-computer inter­faces for per­cep­tual learn­ing in speech and music

See his abstract
We per­ceive the sounds in our envi­ron­ment, such as lan­guage and music, effort­lessly and trans­par­ently, unaware of the com­plex neu­ro­phys­i­o­log­i­cal mech­a­nisms that under­lie our expe­ri­ences. Using elec­troen­cephalog­ra­phy (EEG) and tech­niques from the field of machine learn­ing, it’s pos­si­ble to mon­i­tor our per­cep­tion of the audi­tory world in real-time and to pin­point indi­vid­ual dif­fer­ences in per­cep­tual abil­i­ties related to native-language back­ground and audi­tory expe­ri­ence. Going fur­ther, these same meth­ods can be used to pro­vide indi­vid­u­als with neu­ro­feed­back dur­ing audi­tory per­cep­tion as a means of mod­u­lat­ing brain responses to sounds, with the even­tual aim of incor­po­rat­ing these meth­ods into edu­ca­tional set­tings to aid in audi­tory per­cep­tual learning.

Wish­ing you all the best.

10. February 2014 by Steven Kalinke
Categories: Editorial Notes | Tags: , |

New Paper out: Wilsch, Henry, Her­rmann et al.

Quite recently Cere­bral Cor­tex published

Alpha Oscil­la­tory Dynam­ics Index Tem­po­ral Expec­ta­tion Ben­e­fits in Work­ing Memory

by Anna Wilsch, Molly J Henry, Björn Her­rmann, Burkhard Maess, and Jonas Obleser.

Check the abstract below or fol­low that link to get the full arti­cle.

Enhanced alpha power com­pared with a base­line can reflect states of increased cog­ni­tive load, for exam­ple, when lis­ten­ing to speech in noise. Can knowl­edge about “when” to lis­ten (tem­po­ral expec­ta­tions) poten­tially coun­ter­act cog­ni­tive load and con­comi­tantly reduce alpha? The cur­rent mag­ne­toen­cephalog­ra­phy (MEG) exper­i­ment induced cog­ni­tive load using an audi­tory delayed-matching-to-sample task with 2 syl­la­bles S1 and S2 pre­sented in speech-shaped noise. Tem­po­ral expec­ta­tion about the occur­rence of S1 was manip­u­lated in 3 dif­fer­ent cue con­di­tions: “Neu­tral” (unin­for­ma­tive about forepe­riod), “early-cued” (short forepe­riod), and “late-cued” (long forepe­riod). Alpha power through­out the trial was high­est when the cue was unin­for­ma­tive about the onset time of S1 (neu­tral) and low­est for the late-cued con­di­tion. This alpha-reducing effect of late com­pared with neu­tral cues was most evi­dent dur­ing mem­ory reten­tion in noise and orig­i­nated pri­mar­ily in the right insula. More­over, indi­vid­ual alpha effects dur­ing reten­tion accounted best for observed indi­vid­ual per­for­mance dif­fer­ences between late-cued and neu­tral con­di­tions, indi­cat­ing a trade­off between allo­ca­tion of neural resources and the ben­e­fits drawn from tem­po­ral cues. Over­all, the results indi­cate that tem­po­ral expec­ta­tions can facil­i­tate the encod­ing of speech in noise, and con­comi­tantly reduce neural mark­ers of cog­ni­tive load.


  • Wilsch A, Henry MJ, Her­rmann B, Maess B, Obleser J. Alpha Oscil­la­tory Dynam­ics Index Tem­po­ral Expec­ta­tion Ben­e­fits in Work­ing Mem­ory. Cereb Cor­tex. 2014 Jan 31. PMID: 24488943. [Open with Read]

10. February 2014 by Steven Kalinke
Categories: Auditory Working Memory, Degraded Acoustics, EEG / MEG, Executive Functions, Neural Oscillations, Papers, Publications, Speech | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Colin Cherry Award 2014 goes to Malte Wöstmann

On this years SPIN (Speech in Noise) work­shop in Mar­seille, our very own Malte Wöst­mann received the Colin Cherry  Best Poster Award, elected by work­shop attendees.

Judge for your­self and check out the Poster (PDF) here

Colin Cherry Award 2014 goes to Malte Wöstmann

Colin Cherry Award 2014 goes to Malte Wöstmann

16. January 2014 by Steven Kalinke
Categories: EEG / MEG, Neural Oscillations, Perception, Posters, Publications | Tags: , , , , |

New paper in press: Her­rmann, Schlicht­ing, & Obleser, Jour­nal of Neuroscience

Björn Her­rmann has yet another paper in press in the Jour­nal of Neuroscience!

Dynamic Range Adap­ta­tion to Spec­tral Stim­u­lus Sta­tis­tics in Human Audi­tory Cortex

The paper is now avail­able online free of charge, and—funnily enough—appeared right on Jan­u­ary 1, 2014.

Screen Shot 2014-01-02 at 14.38.58


  • Her­rmann B, Schlicht­ing N, Obleser J. Dynamic range adap­ta­tion to spec­tral stim­u­lus sta­tis­tics in human audi­tory cor­tex. J Neu­rosci. 2014 Jan 1;34(1):327–31. PMID: 24381293. [Open with Read]

02. January 2014 by Dr. Jonas Obleser
Categories: Auditory Cortex, Auditory Neuroscience, Auditory Perception, EEG / MEG, Evoked Activity, Papers, Perception, Publications | Tags: , , , , , , |

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