Mammals have evolved selective attention to extract useful sensory information from a complex world. Most previous neurophysiology research has modeled sensory representation and selective attention as independent, hierarchical processes: First, sensory systems passively filter input stimuli, and then attention systems select relevant information from the filtered output. The goal of this study is to test the alternative hypothesis that these two processes are tightly coupled at intermediate stages of sensory processing. If the filtering properties of sensory neurons are modulated by attention, then the number of possible computational strategies employed by attention will expand dramatically. This work will focus on characterizing the functional properties of neurons in primary auditory cortex under varying attention conditions. Findings using simple stimuli will be tested for their generality in natural behavior tasks. Patients with partial hearing loss and cochlear implants often complain of difficulty in auditory scene segmentation and hearing in noisy environments. This study will provide insight into the cortical processes required for performing these tasks successfully.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Postdoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F32)
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Communication Disorders Review Committee (CDRC)
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Cyr, Janet
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University of Maryland College Park
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College Park
United States
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David, Stephen V; Fritz, Jonathan B; Shamma, Shihab A (2012) Task reward structure shapes rapid receptive field plasticity in auditory cortex. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 109:2144-9
Klampfl, Stefan; David, Stephen V; Yin, Pingbo et al. (2012) A quantitative analysis of information about past and present stimuli encoded by spikes of A1 neurons. J Neurophysiol 108:1366-80
David, Stephen V; Malaval, Nicolas; Shamma, Shihab A (2010) Decoupling action potential bias from cortical local field potentials. Comput Intell Neurosci :393019
Mesgarani, Nima; Fritz, Jonathan; Shamma, Shihab (2010) A computational model of rapid task-related plasticity of auditory cortical receptive fields. J Comput Neurosci 28:19-27
Fritz, Jonathan B; David, Stephen V; Radtke-Schuller, Susanne et al. (2010) Adaptive, behaviorally gated, persistent encoding of task-relevant auditory information in ferret frontal cortex. Nat Neurosci 13:1011-9
Mesgarani, Nima; David, Stephen V; Fritz, Jonathan B et al. (2009) Influence of context and behavior on stimulus reconstruction from neural activity in primary auditory cortex. J Neurophysiol 102:3329-39
David, Stephen V; Mesgarani, Nima; Fritz, Jonathan B et al. (2009) Rapid synaptic depression explains nonlinear modulation of spectro-temporal tuning in primary auditory cortex by natural stimuli. J Neurosci 29:3374-86
Mesgarani, Nima; David, Stephen V; Fritz, Jonathan B et al. (2008) Phoneme representation and classification in primary auditory cortex. J Acoust Soc Am 123:899-909
David, Stephen V; Mesgarani, Nima; Shamma, Shihab A (2007) Estimating sparse spectro-temporal receptive fields with natural stimuli. Network 18:191-212