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Neuronal Correlates of Informational and Energetic Masking in the Human Brain in a Multi-Talker Situation.


ABSTRACT: Human listeners can follow the voice of one speaker while several others are talking at the same time. This process requires segregating the speech streams from each other and continuously directing attention to the target stream. We investigated the functional brain networks underlying this ability. Two speech streams were presented simultaneously to participants, who followed one of them and detected targets within it (target stream). The loudness of the distractor speech stream varied on five levels: moderately softer, slightly softer, equal, slightly louder, or moderately louder than the attended. Performance measures showed that the most demanding task was the moderately softer distractors condition, which indicates that a softer distractor speech may receive more covert attention than louder distractors and, therefore, they require more cognitive resources. EEG-based measurement of functional connectivity between various brain regions revealed frequency-band specific networks: (1) energetic masking (comparing the louder distractor conditions with the equal loudness condition) was predominantly associated with stronger connectivity between the frontal and temporal regions at the lower alpha (8-10 Hz) and gamma (30-70 Hz) bands; (2) informational masking (comparing the softer distractor conditions with the equal loudness condition) was associated with a distributed network between parietal, frontal, and temporal regions at the theta (4-8 Hz) and beta (13-30 Hz) bands. These results suggest the presence of distinct cognitive and neural processes for solving the interference from energetic vs. informational masking.

SUBMITTER: Szalardy O 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6465330 | BioStudies | 2019-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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