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Neuroscience Brown Bag Series

Thursday, October 26, 2017,
  • Location: Wilson Hall
  • Room: 316

Corrie Camalier, PhD

National Institute of Health

The “cocktail party phenomenon” refers to the ability to selectively attend and comprehend sound amid multiple distracting sources. It is an effortless task for many, yet is compromised in a wide range of populations, such as children with central processing disorder, blast victims presenting with “hidden hearing loss”, and the elderly, rendering daily communication difficult. Despite its implications for human health, and interesting potential parallels to the literature of visuospatial attention, the neural underpinnings of spatially selective hearing have received little attention, partly due to the lack of an animal model. Here I present a new primate model of selective hearing in noise and its single-neuron correlates in auditory cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and basolateral amygdala of the macaque. We find a substantial fraction of neurons in auditory cortex and dorsolateral cortex (but not amygdala) are involved in the task, and that errors in selective hearing appear to be in part caused by incorrect gating of noise at the level of sensory cortex, but not prefrontal cortex. Future directions and avenues for clinical translation will be discussed.