We are proud to share the most recent findings of our research group Psychoacoustics and Experimental Audiology and the cooperation partners (Boston University, Carnegie Mellon University and University of Iowa). In everyday life, listeners naturally have access to several, partially redundant acoustic cues in order to infer the spatial locations of sound sources in the environment. However, most of the previous studies, especially within the fields of neuroscience (and including some of our own), used impoverished spatial auditory cues (or even dichotic presentation) to study the underlying mechanisms of selective attention. This is seemingly due to the ease of implementation and the assumption that impoverished cues must engage cognitive networks effectively, given that listeners can use impoverished acoustic cues to achieve good behavioral performance on spatial attention tasks. With this work we provide neural evidence for the detrimental effects of impoverished auditory spatial cues on selective attentional control. We contrasted neural signatures of attentional control using rich, individualized vs. impoverished spatial cues and found that both preparatory oscillatory (alpha power) and early evoked (P1) cortical responses are weakened or even absent with impoverished cues. Interestingly, though, later evoked (N1) cortical responses appeared unaffected by spatial cue realism, raising future questions about early compensatory processes. More importantly, our results demonstrate that the field is likely underestimating neural activity associated with spatial auditory attention.

For more details, use the following link before October 29, 2019, in order to enjoy free access to our paper with the title "Impoverished auditory cues limit engagement of brain networks controlling spatial selective attention": https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1ZiJd3lc~r74AY.