SAGE Journal Articles

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Journal Article 10.1: Bizley, J. K., & Walker, K. M. M. (2010). Sensitivity and selectivity of neurons in auditory cortex to the pitch, timbre, and location of sounds. The Neuroscientist, 16(4), 453-469. doi:10.1177/1073858410371009

Abstract: We are able to rapidly recognize and localize the many sounds in our environment. We can describe any of these sounds in terms of various independent “features” such as their loudness, pitch, or position in space. However, we still know surprisingly little about how neurons in the auditory brain, specifically the auditory cortex, might form representations of these perceptual characteristics from the information that the ear provides about sound acoustics. In this article, the authors examine evidence that the auditory cortex is necessary for processing the pitch, timbre, and location of sounds, and document how neurons across multiple auditory cortical fields might represent these as trains of action potentials. They conclude by asking whether neurons in different regions of the auditory cortex might not be simply sensitive to each of these three sound features but whether they might be selective for one of them. The few studies that have examined neural sensitivity to multiple sound attributes provide only limited support for neural selectivity within auditory cortex. Providing an explanation of the neural basis of feature invariance is thus one of the major challenges to sensory neuroscience obtaining the ultimate goal of understanding how neural firing patterns in the brain give rise to perception.

Journal Article 10.2: Grapp, M., Hutter, E., Argstatter, H., Plinkert, P. K., & Bolay, H. V. (2013). Neuro-music therapy for recent-onset tinnitus: A pilot study. SAGE Open, 3(2), 2158244013489692. doi:10.1177/2158244013489692

Abstract: The aim of this pilot study was the evaluation of the neuro-music therapy approach as a new treatment option for patients with recent-onset tinnitus whose tinnitus symptoms were enduring after initial pharmacological treatment. In all, 15 patients with recent-onset tinnitus took part in our manualized short-term music-therapeutic treatment. Tinnitus severity and individual tinnitus distress were assessed by the German version of the tinnitus questionnaire (TQ) and the Attention and Performance Self-Assessment Scale (APSA) at three different measurement times: baseline (T0), start of treatment (T1), and end of treatment (T2). Score changes in TQ and APSA from start to end of treatment indicated significant improvements in tinnitus-related distress. According to the Jacobson and Truax reliable change index (RC), 73.3% of the patients showed a reliable reduction in individual TQ-score. The neuro-music therapy for recent-onset tinnitus according to the “Heidelberg Model” introduced in this pilot study seems to provide an effective treatment option for patients with recent-onset tinnitus.

Journal Article 10.3: Hedger, S. C., Heald, S. L. M., & Nusbaum, H. C. (2013). Absolute pitch may not be so absolute. Psychological Science, 24(8), 1496-1502. doi:10.1177/0956797612473310

Abstract: Most people cannot name the musical note that corresponds to a particular pitch without being provided a reference note, but those people with absolute pitch (AP) can do this accurately. Early experience during a developmental period is often thought to convey identity and stability of the note categories in people with AP, but the plasticity of these categories has not been investigated. Here we provide the first evidence that the note categories of adults with AP can change with listening experience. Participants with AP showed shifts in perception in direct accord with prior exposure to music detuned by a fraction of a semitone. This suggests that the apparent stability of AP categories is conferred not by early experience but rather by the cultural norms adopted for tuning music.

Journal Article 10.4: Landry, S. P., Guillemot, J.-P., & Champoux, F. (2013). Temporary deafness can impair multisensory integration: A study of cochlear-implant users. Psychological Science, 24(7), 1260-1268. doi:10.1177/0956797612471142

Abstract: Previous investigations suggest that temporary deafness can have a dramatic impact on audiovisual speech processing. The aim of this study was to test whether temporary deafness disturbs other multisensory processes in adults. A nonspeech task involving an audiotactile illusion was administered to a group of normally hearing individuals and a group of individuals who had been temporarily auditorily deprived. Members of this latter group had their auditory detection thresholds restored to normal levels through the use of a cochlear implant. Control conditions revealed that auditory and tactile discrimination capabilities were identical in the two groups. However, whereas normally hearing individuals integrated auditory and tactile information, so that they experienced the audiotactile illusion, individuals who had been temporarily deprived did not. Given the basic nature of the task, failure to integrate multisensory information could not be explained by the use of the cochlear implant. Thus, the results suggest that normally anticipated audiotactile interactions are disturbed following temporary deafness.

Journal Article 10.5: Wingfield, A., Tun, P. A., & McCoy, S. L. (2005). Hearing loss in older adulthood: What it is and how it interacts with cognitive performance. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14(3), 144-148. doi:10.1111/j.0963-7214.2005.00356.x

Abstract: Adult aging is accompanied by declines in many areas of cognitive functioning, including reduced memory for new information. Potential sources of these declines are well established and include slowed processing, diminished working-memory capacity, and a reduced ability to inhibit interference. In addition, older adults often experience sensory decline, including decreased hearing acuity for high-frequency sounds and deficits in frequency and temporal resolution. These changes add to the challenge faced by older adults in comprehension and memory for everyday rapid speech. Use of contextual information and added perceptual and cognitive effort can partially offset the deleterious effects of these sensory declines. This may, however, come at a cost to resources that might otherwise be available for “downstream” operations such as encoding the speech content in memory. We argue that future research should focus not only on sensory and cognitive functioning as separate domains but also on the dynamics of their interaction.