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You are here: McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind > Publications > Simultaneously-evoked auditory potentials (SEAP): A new method for concurrent measurement of cortical and subcortical auditory-evoked activity

Christopher Slugocki, Daniel Bosynak, and Laurel J Trainor (2017)

Simultaneously-evoked auditory potentials (SEAP): A new method for concurrent measurement of cortical and subcortical auditory-evoked activity

Hearing Research, 345:30-42.

Recent electrophysiological work has evinced a capacity for plasticity in subcortical auditory nuclei in human listeners. Similar plastic effects have been measured in cortically-generated auditory potentials but it is unclear how the two interact. Here we present Simultaneously-Evoked Auditory Potentials (SEAP), a method designed to concurrently elicit electrophysiological brain potentials from inferior colliculus, thalamus, and primary and secondary auditory cortices. Twenty-six normal-hearing adult subjects (mean 19.26 years, 9 male) were exposed to 2400 monaural (right-ear) presentations of a specially-designed stimulus which consisted of a pure-tone carrier (500 or 600 Hz) that had been amplitude-modulated at the sum of 37 and 81 Hz (depth 100%). Presentation followed an oddball paradigm wherein the pure-tone carrier was set to 500 Hz for 85% of presentations and pseudo-randomly changed to 600 Hz for the remaining 15% of presentations. Single-channel electroencephalographic data were recorded from each subject using a vertical montage referenced to the right earlobe. We show that SEAP elicits a 500 Hz frequency-following response (FFR; generated in inferior colliculus), 80 (subcortical) and 40 (primary auditory cortex) Hz auditory steady-state responses (ASSRs), mismatch negativity (MMN) and P3a (when there is an occasional change in carrier frequency; secondary auditory cortex) in addition to the obligatory N1-P2 complex (secondary auditory cortex). Analyses showed that subcortical and cortical processes are linked as (i) the latency of the FFR predicts the phase delay of the 40 Hz steady-state response, (ii) the phase delays of the 40 and 80 Hz steady-state responses are correlated, and (iii) the fidelity of the FFR predicts the latency of the N1 component. The SEAP method offers a new approach for measuring the dynamic encoding of acoustic features at multiple levels of the auditory pathway. As such, SEAP is a promising tool with which to study how relationships between subcortical and cortical processes change through early development and auditory learning as well as by hearing loss and aging.

auditory cortex, auditory processing