Consistent pre-stimulus influences on auditory perception across the lifespan

McNair, S. W. , Kayser, S. J. and Kayser, C. (2019) Consistent pre-stimulus influences on auditory perception across the lifespan. NeuroImage, 186, pp. 22-32. (doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.10.085) (PMID:30391564) (PMCID:PMC6347568)

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As we get older, perception in cluttered environments becomes increasingly difficult as a result of changes in peripheral and central neural processes. Given the aging society, it is important to understand the neural mechanisms constraining perception in the elderly. In young participants, the state of rhythmic brain activity prior to a stimulus has been shown to modulate the neural encoding and perceptual impact of this stimulus – yet it remains unclear whether, and if so, how, the perceptual relevance of pre-stimulus activity changes with age. Using the auditory system as a model, we recorded EEG activity during a frequency discrimination task from younger and older human listeners. By combining single-trial EEG decoding with linear modelling we demonstrate consistent statistical relations between pre-stimulus power and the encoding of sensory evidence in short-latency EEG components, and more variable relations between pre-stimulus phase and subjects’ decisions in longer-latency components. At the same time, we observed a significant slowing of auditory evoked responses and a flattening of the overall EEG frequency spectrum in the older listeners. Our results point to mechanistically consistent relations between rhythmic brain activity and sensory encoding that emerge despite changes in neural response latencies and the relative amplitude of rhythmic brain activity with age.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kayser, Professor Christoph and Kayser, Dr Stephanie and McNair, Dr Steven
Authors: McNair, S. W., Kayser, S. J., and Kayser, C.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology
Journal Name:NeuroImage
ISSN (Online):1095-9572
Published Online:02 November 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
First Published:First published in NeuroImage 186: 22-32
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
658701Pathways and mechanisms underlying the visual enhancement of hearing in challenging environments.Christoph KayserBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)BB/L027534/1INP - CENTRE FOR COGNITIVE NEUROIMAGING
670551DynaSensChristoph KayserEuropean Research Council (ERC)646657INP - CENTRE FOR COGNITIVE NEUROIMAGING