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Individual differences in sound-in-noise perception are related to the strength of short-latency neural responses to noise.

Vinnik E, Itskov PM, Balaban E - PLoS ONE (2011)

Bottom Line: Important sounds can be easily missed or misidentified in the presence of extraneous noise.Participants strongly susceptible to this illusory discontinuity did not perceive illusory auditory continuity (in which a sound subjectively continues during a burst of masking noise) when the noises were short, yet did so at longer noise durations.These data suggest that short-latency neural responses to auditory scene components reflect subsequent individual differences in the parsing of auditory scenes.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Cognitive Neuroscience Sector, SISSA, Trieste, Italy. vinnik.ekaterina@gmail.com

ABSTRACT
Important sounds can be easily missed or misidentified in the presence of extraneous noise. We describe an auditory illusion in which a continuous ongoing tone becomes inaudible during a brief, non-masking noise burst more than one octave away, which is unexpected given the frequency resolution of human hearing. Participants strongly susceptible to this illusory discontinuity did not perceive illusory auditory continuity (in which a sound subjectively continues during a burst of masking noise) when the noises were short, yet did so at longer noise durations. Participants who were not prone to illusory discontinuity showed robust early electroencephalographic responses at 40-66 ms after noise burst onset, whereas those prone to the illusion lacked these early responses. These data suggest that short-latency neural responses to auditory scene components reflect subsequent individual differences in the parsing of auditory scenes.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

ERP aligned to the onset of noise bursts:a,b,c, 50-ms noise burst presented together with the tone; d,e,f 50-ms noise burst alone. g,h,i 1000-ms noises together with the tone (see also insets in panels a,d,g). A,d,g: Lines are group means and shaded areas are standard errors. Horizontal gray lines denote time windows of interest. Gray asterisks next to them indicate the significant correlation between magnitude and performance (test was done using all 35 participants, and not only the two groups of participants depicted here for clarity). Panels b,e,h refer to P50 component (40–66 ms after sound onset). Panels c,f,i refer to N270–350 component. In b,c,e,f,h,i color denotes the scalp distribution of the potential differences between participants that reliably heard the continuous tone as continuous and those that reliably heard it as discontinuous. Electrodes with nominally significant correlations between performance and voltage in all subjects (p<0.05, uncorrected) are highlighted with bold circles.
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pone-0017266-g003: ERP aligned to the onset of noise bursts:a,b,c, 50-ms noise burst presented together with the tone; d,e,f 50-ms noise burst alone. g,h,i 1000-ms noises together with the tone (see also insets in panels a,d,g). A,d,g: Lines are group means and shaded areas are standard errors. Horizontal gray lines denote time windows of interest. Gray asterisks next to them indicate the significant correlation between magnitude and performance (test was done using all 35 participants, and not only the two groups of participants depicted here for clarity). Panels b,e,h refer to P50 component (40–66 ms after sound onset). Panels c,f,i refer to N270–350 component. In b,c,e,f,h,i color denotes the scalp distribution of the potential differences between participants that reliably heard the continuous tone as continuous and those that reliably heard it as discontinuous. Electrodes with nominally significant correlations between performance and voltage in all subjects (p<0.05, uncorrected) are highlighted with bold circles.

Mentions: A significant correlation between psychophysical performance and the magnitude of EEG responses to noise bursts was found in two time windows out of the four that were selected for analysis (see Methods and gray asterisks in Figure 3a). There was a positive relationship between continuity perception and the magnitude of the P50 component (Figure 3a, 40–66 ms after noise onset, Spearman ρ = 0.47, n = 35, p = 0.018 (corrected for multiple comparisons) at the Fz electrode selected a-priori for analysis. Surrounding electrodes exhibited a similar pattern (bold dots in Figure 3b). The P50 component was absent in participants susceptible to illusory discontinuity (Figure 3a, red line, 40–66 ms after noise onset), whereas subjects who consistently heard these stimuli as continuous had a robust P50 response (Figure 3a, blue line, also Figure 3b: the difference between “continuous” and “discontinuous” groups is positive on frontal electrodes, as denoted by red color). Participants who perceived the tone as continuous also showed a significantly more positive integrated voltage of the N270–350 waveform peak between 270 to 350 ms after noise onset (Spearman ρ = 0.38, n = 35, p = 0.046, corrected for multiple comparisons, Figure 3a,c).


Individual differences in sound-in-noise perception are related to the strength of short-latency neural responses to noise.

Vinnik E, Itskov PM, Balaban E - PLoS ONE (2011)

ERP aligned to the onset of noise bursts:a,b,c, 50-ms noise burst presented together with the tone; d,e,f 50-ms noise burst alone. g,h,i 1000-ms noises together with the tone (see also insets in panels a,d,g). A,d,g: Lines are group means and shaded areas are standard errors. Horizontal gray lines denote time windows of interest. Gray asterisks next to them indicate the significant correlation between magnitude and performance (test was done using all 35 participants, and not only the two groups of participants depicted here for clarity). Panels b,e,h refer to P50 component (40–66 ms after sound onset). Panels c,f,i refer to N270–350 component. In b,c,e,f,h,i color denotes the scalp distribution of the potential differences between participants that reliably heard the continuous tone as continuous and those that reliably heard it as discontinuous. Electrodes with nominally significant correlations between performance and voltage in all subjects (p<0.05, uncorrected) are highlighted with bold circles.
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Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3046163&req=5

pone-0017266-g003: ERP aligned to the onset of noise bursts:a,b,c, 50-ms noise burst presented together with the tone; d,e,f 50-ms noise burst alone. g,h,i 1000-ms noises together with the tone (see also insets in panels a,d,g). A,d,g: Lines are group means and shaded areas are standard errors. Horizontal gray lines denote time windows of interest. Gray asterisks next to them indicate the significant correlation between magnitude and performance (test was done using all 35 participants, and not only the two groups of participants depicted here for clarity). Panels b,e,h refer to P50 component (40–66 ms after sound onset). Panels c,f,i refer to N270–350 component. In b,c,e,f,h,i color denotes the scalp distribution of the potential differences between participants that reliably heard the continuous tone as continuous and those that reliably heard it as discontinuous. Electrodes with nominally significant correlations between performance and voltage in all subjects (p<0.05, uncorrected) are highlighted with bold circles.
Mentions: A significant correlation between psychophysical performance and the magnitude of EEG responses to noise bursts was found in two time windows out of the four that were selected for analysis (see Methods and gray asterisks in Figure 3a). There was a positive relationship between continuity perception and the magnitude of the P50 component (Figure 3a, 40–66 ms after noise onset, Spearman ρ = 0.47, n = 35, p = 0.018 (corrected for multiple comparisons) at the Fz electrode selected a-priori for analysis. Surrounding electrodes exhibited a similar pattern (bold dots in Figure 3b). The P50 component was absent in participants susceptible to illusory discontinuity (Figure 3a, red line, 40–66 ms after noise onset), whereas subjects who consistently heard these stimuli as continuous had a robust P50 response (Figure 3a, blue line, also Figure 3b: the difference between “continuous” and “discontinuous” groups is positive on frontal electrodes, as denoted by red color). Participants who perceived the tone as continuous also showed a significantly more positive integrated voltage of the N270–350 waveform peak between 270 to 350 ms after noise onset (Spearman ρ = 0.38, n = 35, p = 0.046, corrected for multiple comparisons, Figure 3a,c).

Bottom Line: Important sounds can be easily missed or misidentified in the presence of extraneous noise.Participants strongly susceptible to this illusory discontinuity did not perceive illusory auditory continuity (in which a sound subjectively continues during a burst of masking noise) when the noises were short, yet did so at longer noise durations.These data suggest that short-latency neural responses to auditory scene components reflect subsequent individual differences in the parsing of auditory scenes.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Cognitive Neuroscience Sector, SISSA, Trieste, Italy. vinnik.ekaterina@gmail.com

ABSTRACT
Important sounds can be easily missed or misidentified in the presence of extraneous noise. We describe an auditory illusion in which a continuous ongoing tone becomes inaudible during a brief, non-masking noise burst more than one octave away, which is unexpected given the frequency resolution of human hearing. Participants strongly susceptible to this illusory discontinuity did not perceive illusory auditory continuity (in which a sound subjectively continues during a burst of masking noise) when the noises were short, yet did so at longer noise durations. Participants who were not prone to illusory discontinuity showed robust early electroencephalographic responses at 40-66 ms after noise burst onset, whereas those prone to the illusion lacked these early responses. These data suggest that short-latency neural responses to auditory scene components reflect subsequent individual differences in the parsing of auditory scenes.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus