BME PhD Dissertation Defense - Yuqi Deng

  • Starts: 11:00 am on Thursday, April 4, 2019

Title: “Cortical Mechanisms Underlying Auditory Spatial and Non-spatial Attention”

Committee: Barbara Shinn-Cunningham, PhD – BU BME (Advisor) H. Steven Colburn, PhD – BU BME (Chair) Nancy Kopell, PhD – BU Math Robert M.G. Reinhart, PhD – BU Psychological and Brain Sciences Inyong Choi, PhD – The University of Iowa’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

Abstract: Despite the importance of auditory selective attention in everyday communication, cortical mechanisms underlying the amazing ability of human brain to focus on a sound stimulus and suppress others are not well understood. Built upon findings in visual spatial attention and supramodal attention network theory, recent studies have led to the hypothesis that alpha band oscillation (8-14Hz) is a neural signature of auditory spatial attention. However, with limited number of studies available, many questions regarding the exact role alpha oscillation plays during auditory attention remain unanswered. This thesis aims to further the understanding of the functions of alpha oscillation during different forms of auditory attention. Specifically, with electroencephalography (EEG) we investigated in correlative observations of alpha activities during auditory attention. On the other hand, we looked for causal evidence that alpha plays an active functional role during auditory attention with high definition transcranial alternative current stimulation (HD-tACS). This thesis includes four studies, each of which employs behavioral tasks to test specific hypotheses. Our results demonstrated both correlative and causal evidence of differential alpha activities during different forms of auditory attention. Findings of this thesis work will contribute to the growing body of knowledge about how the brain employs auditory selective attention for effective communication.

Location:
610 Commonwealth Ave (CILSE), room 106A

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