Current models successfully describe the auditory cortical response to natural sounds with a set of spectro-temporal features. However, these models have hardly been linked to the ill-understood neurobiological changes that occur in the aging auditory cortex. Modelling the hemodynamic response to a rich natural sound mixture in N = 64 listeners of varying age, we here show that in older listeners’ auditory cortex, the key feature of temporal rate is represented with a markedly broader tuning. This loss of temporal selectivity is most prominent in primary auditory cortex and planum temporale, with no such changes in adjacent auditory or other brain areas. Amongst older listeners, we observe a direct relationship between chronological age and temporal-rate tuning, unconfounded by auditory acuity or model goodness of fit. In line with senescent neural dedifferentiation more generally, our results highlight decreased selectivity to temporal information as a hallmark of the aging auditory cortex.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)