Insights on the Neuromagnetic Representation of Temporal Asymmetry in Human Auditory Cortex

PloS One
Alejandro TabasAndré Rupp

Abstract

Communication sounds are typically asymmetric in time and human listeners are highly sensitive to this short-term temporal asymmetry. Nevertheless, causal neurophysiological correlates of auditory perceptual asymmetry remain largely elusive to our current analyses and models. Auditory modelling and animal electrophysiological recordings suggest that perceptual asymmetry results from the presence of multiple time scales of temporal integration, central to the auditory periphery. To test this hypothesis we recorded auditory evoked fields (AEF) elicited by asymmetric sounds in humans. We found a strong correlation between perceived tonal salience of ramped and damped sinusoids and the AEFs, as quantified by the amplitude of the N100m dynamics. The N100m amplitude increased with stimulus half-life time, showing a maximum difference between the ramped and damped stimulus for a modulation half-life time of 4 ms which is greatly reduced at 0.5 ms and 32 ms. This behaviour of the N100m closely parallels psychophysical data in a manner that: i) longer half-life times are associated with a stronger tonal percept, and ii) perceptual differences between damped and ramped are maximal at 4 ms half-life time. Interestingly, differences in evo...Continue Reading

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