Auditory-Cortex Short-Term Plasticity Induced by Selective Attention

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Auditory-Cortex Short-Term Plasticity Induced by Selective Attention

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Title: Auditory-Cortex Short-Term Plasticity Induced by Selective Attention
Author: Jääskeläinen, Iiro P.; Ahveninen, Jyrki

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Citation: Jääskeläinen, Iiro P., and Jyrki Ahveninen. 2014. “Auditory-Cortex Short-Term Plasticity Induced by Selective Attention.” Neural Plasticity 2014 (1): 216731. doi:10.1155/2014/216731.
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Abstract: The ability to concentrate on relevant sounds in the acoustic environment is crucial for everyday function and communication. Converging lines of evidence suggests that transient functional changes in auditory-cortex neurons, “short-term plasticity”, might explain this fundamental function. Under conditions of strongly focused attention, enhanced processing of attended sounds can take place at very early latencies (~50 ms from sound onset) in primary auditory cortex and possibly even at earlier latencies in subcortical structures. More robust selective-attention short-term plasticity is manifested as modulation of responses peaking at ~100 ms from sound onset in functionally specialized nonprimary auditory-cortical areas by way of stimulus-specific reshaping of neuronal receptive fields that supports filtering of selectively attended sound features from task-irrelevant ones. Such effects have been shown to take effect in ~seconds following shifting of attentional focus. There are findings suggesting that the reshaping of neuronal receptive fields is even stronger at longer auditory-cortex response latencies (~300 ms from sound onset). These longer-latency short-term plasticity effects seem to build up more gradually, within tens of seconds after shifting the focus of attention. Importantly, some of the auditory-cortical short-term plasticity effects observed during selective attention predict enhancements in behaviorally measured sound discrimination performance.
Published Version: doi:10.1155/2014/216731
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