The broad objective of the proposed research is to provide a more detailed understanding of the stimulus-driven processes that contribute to auditory perception. We will use the high temporal resolution of event-related potentials (ERPs) in conjunction with behavioral methods to compare the outcome of stimulus-driven auditory processes with the perception resulting from attentive processing of the same sounds, across various experimental conditions. This will allow us to evaluate the processing stages between sensory input and behavioral response. There are three main aims of the proposal. One is to determine the extent of processing of unattended acoustic information. Four experiments address this aim. One tests the processing capacity for unattended sounds. Another determines whether the process of auditory feature integration requires attention. A third tests the hypothesis that the auditory system organizes information from multiple unattended sources when attention is directed to a single acoustic source. The fourth investigates stimulus context effects on auditory event formation.
A second aim i s to understand how attention and stimulus-driven processes interact. Two experiments address this aim. One investigates how perception relates to stimulus-driven auditory event formation and another, the role of attention in auditory stream formation.
The third aim i s to investigate effects of attention on early sensory grouping processes. One experiment will test the hypothesis that top-down processing can modify the stimulus- driven sound organization. Deficits in central auditory processing are thought to play a key role in many cognitive disorders (e.g., autism or dyslexia). Using electrophysiological measures, in conjunction with behavioral methods, to delineate the stimulus-driven processes that contribute to auditory perception can help advance our understanding of impaired processing, which is essential for developing rehabilitative treatments. Furthermore, because subject response is not needed for obtaining the ERP components (such as N1 and MMN), this methodology has the potential to be an important non-invasive tool for diagnosis of central auditory processing deficits that contribute to impaired cognition.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Integrative, Functional and Cognitive Neuroscience 8 (IFCN)
Program Officer
Luethke, Lynn E
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Yu, Yan H; Shafer, Valerie L; Sussman, Elyse S (2018) The Duration of Auditory Sensory Memory for Vowel Processing: Neurophysiological and Behavioral Measures. Front Psychol 9:335
Ruhnau, Philipp; Schröger, Erich; Sussman, Elyse S (2017) Implicit expectations influence target detection in children and adults. Dev Sci 20:
Symonds, Renée M; Lee, Wei Wei; Kohn, Adam et al. (2017) Distinguishing Neural Adaptation and Predictive Coding Hypotheses in Auditory Change Detection. Brain Topogr 30:136-148
Costa-Faidella, Jordi; Sussman, Elyse S; Escera, Carles (2017) Selective entrainment of brain oscillations drives auditory perceptual organization. Neuroimage 159:195-206
Dinces, Elizabeth; Sussman, Elyse S (2017) Attentional Resources Are Needed for Auditory Stream Segregation in Aging. Front Aging Neurosci 9:414
Rota-Donahue, Christine; Schwartz, Richard G; Shafer, Valerie et al. (2016) Perception of Small Frequency Differences in Children with Auditory Processing Disorder or Specific Language Impairment. J Am Acad Audiol 27:489-97
Rankin, James; Sussman, Elyse; Rinzel, John (2015) Neuromechanistic Model of Auditory Bistability. PLoS Comput Biol 11:e1004555
Hisagi, Miwako; Shafer, Valerie L; Strange, Winifred et al. (2015) Neural measures of a Japanese consonant length discrimination by Japanese and American English listeners: Effects of attention. Brain Res 1626:218-31
Rimmele, Johanna Maria; Sussman, Elyse; Poeppel, David (2015) The role of temporal structure in the investigation of sensory memory, auditory scene analysis, and speech perception: a healthy-aging perspective. Int J Psychophysiol 95:175-83
Max, Caroline; Widmann, Andreas; Schröger, Erich et al. (2015) Effects of explicit knowledge and predictability on auditory distraction and target performance. Int J Psychophysiol 98:174-81

Showing the most recent 10 out of 57 publications