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Studying Effects of Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation on Hearing and Auditory Scene Analysis

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Recent studies have shown that perceptual detection of near-threshold auditory events may depend on the relative timing of the event and ongoing brain oscillations. Furthermore, transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS), a non-invasive and silent brain stimulation technique, can entrain cortical alpha oscillations and thereby provide some experimental control over their timing. The present research investigates the potential of delta/theta-tACS to modulate hearing and auditory scene analysis. Detection of near-threshold auditory stimuli, which are modulated at 4 Hz and presented at various moments (phase lags) during ongoing tACS (two synchronous 4-Hz alternating currents applied transcranially to the two cerebral hemispheres), is measured in silence or in a masker. Results indicate that performance fluctuates as a function of phase lag and these fluctuations can be explained best by a sinusoid at the tACS frequency. This suggests that tACS may amplify/attenuate sounds that are temporally coherent/anticoherent with tACS-entrained cortical oscillations.

    Research areas

  • Brain stimulation, Neural oscillation, Entrainment, Auditory cortex, Phase alignment, NEURAL OSCILLATIONS, SENSORY SELECTION, NETWORK ACTIVITY, MECHANISMS, PERCEPTION, MODULATION, BEHAVIOR


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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-379
Number of pages9
JournalAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2016