Dynamics and plasticity of the auditory pathway in auditory perceptual learning of speech sounds (AudPath)

Main funder

Funder's project number: 322114

Funds granted by main funder (€)

  • 241 450,00

Funding program

Project timetable

Project start date: 01/09/2019

Project end date: 31/08/2022


The project will investigate the contribution of the different levels of the auditory pathway in auditory perceptual learning and the effects of the short-term passive exposure to speech sounds in human and rodent brain.
Current theories suggest that auditory perceptual leaning occurs within the auditory pathway. The lower levels of the auditory pathway, i.e. the thalamus and inferior colliculus, are interconnected with auditory cortex via many afferent and efferent neural pathways. It is unknown, however, whether the subcortical plasticity, demonstrated previously in single cell recordings, occurs without feedback from the auditory cortex. To investigate this, plastic changes along the auditory pathway will be measured with local field potentials and single cell recordings in rats and electroencephalography (EEG) in humans to speech sounds in similar stimulus conditions. In rats, the auditory cortex will be deactivated pharmacologically to prevent top-down regulation, to reveal the possible independent contributions of the subcortical structures of the auditory pathway during the auditory perceptual learning. From human event-related potential data, cortical and subcortical responses to speech sounds will be extracted. Importantly, the rat data from intracranial recordings will guide the data analysis of the human scalp-recorded data. The results of the project will provide fundamentally important information on neural basis of auditory perception and perceptual learning. This information is relevant for language and speech processing, and can be utilised in future for instance in developing implants for hearing disabled.

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Last updated on 2022-06-07 at 12:41