Feb 22nd 2013 (Fri)
HRC Seminar with David McAlpine

Please note: Location changed to 44 Cummington St (ERB) Room 401

Dr. David McAlpine, Professor of Auditory Neuroscience, University College London

Title: Cocktail Party Listening - With a Twist!

Abstract: The ability to hear out a sound source against a background of competing sounds is critical to the survival of many species, and essential for human communication. Nevertheless, brain mechanisms contributing to such ‘cocktail-party’ listening remain poorly understood. In particular, it remains unclear how the auditory brain is able to extract reliable spatial information direct from the source, when competing sounds and reflections dominate all but the earliest moments of the sound wave reaching each ear. Here, employing human psychophysics and brain imaging (magneto-encephalography), and a novel stimulus in which binaural cues and sound amplitude are modulated with a fixed mutual relation, we demonstrate that the auditory brain emphasizes binaural information arising during the early, rising portion of each modulation cycle. Single-neuron recordings in small mammals, which confirm this finding, indicate that a process of adaptation occurring before binaural integration renders spatial information recoverable in an otherwise un-localizable sound.

Seminar Information

Seminars are generally held on Fridays at 10:30 AM in Room 203 of 44 Cummington Street. (Exceptions in time or location will be noted for any talks that are different).