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auditory neuroscience in context

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Michael receives grant to study the role of relevance for sound localization during ASA

In everyday life, acoustic communication and orientation relies on auditory scene analysis (ASA, also referred to as cocktail party effect), i.e. on the ability of the brain to selectively processes sound features of interest in complex environments. Despite decades of research, a functional understanding of the neuronal mechanisms of ASA remains elusive. Most studies had focused on the instant processing of simple sounds in passive settings and a head-centered (egocentric) reference frame. During realistic ASA, however, the continuous modulation of sensory input resulting from self-motion fundamentally impacts the processing of the sound source of interest, particularly the representation of its absolute (i.e. allocentric) location in space. Moreover, identification of a particular sound source critically depends on its behavioural relevance. To overcome current methodological limitations, I developed an behavioural paradigm with multiple sound sources, in which freely moving rodents make context-dependent decisions based on selective listening (Amaro et al., 2016, FENS). This project has been granted by the German Research Council (DFG) to finance a post-doc for three years.


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