Temporal selectivity declines in the aging human auditory cortex

Julia Erb*, Lea Maria Schmitt, Jonas Obleser

*Corresponding author for this work

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere55300
JournaleLife
Volume9
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 07.2020

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)

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