Article: article from journal or magazin.
Neural plasticity associated with recently versus often heard objects.
In natural settings the same sound source is often heard repeatedly, with variations in spectro-temporal and spatial characteristics. We investigated how such repetitions influence sound representations and in particular how auditory cortices keep track of recently vs. often heard objects. A set of 40 environmental sounds was presented twice, i.e. as prime and as repeat, while subjects categorized the corresponding sound sources as living vs. non-living. Electrical neuroimaging analyses were applied to auditory evoked potentials (AEPs) comparing primes vs. repeats (effect of presentation) and the four experimental sections. Dynamic analysis of distributed source estimations revealed i) a significant main effect of presentation within the left temporal convexity at 164-215ms post-stimulus onset; and ii) a significant main effect of section in the right temporo-parietal junction at 166-213ms. A 3-way repeated measures ANOVA (hemisphere×presentation×section) applied to neural activity of the above clusters during the common time window confirmed the specificity of the left hemisphere for the effect of presentation, but not that of the right hemisphere for the effect of section. In conclusion, spatio-temporal dynamics of neural activity encode the temporal history of exposure to sound objects. Rapidly occurring plastic changes within the semantic representations of the left hemisphere keep track of objects heard a few seconds before, independent of the more general sound exposure history. Progressively occurring and more long-lasting plastic changes occurring predominantly within right hemispheric networks, which are known to code for perceptual, semantic and spatial aspects of sound objects, keep track of multiple exposures.
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