Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Learning how to listen with neurofeedback

Date:
March 6, 2014
Source:
Radboud University Nijmegen
Summary:
When listening to music or learning a new language, auditory perceptual learning occurs: a process in which your recognition of specific sounds improves, making you more efficient in processing and interpreting them. A neuroscientist now shows that auditory perceptual learning can be facilitated using neurofeedback, helping to focus on the sound differences that really matter.

Test subject connected to the EEG equipment.
Credit: Image courtesy of Radboud University Nijmegen

When listening to music or learning a new language, auditory perceptual learning occurs: a process in which your recognition of specific sounds improves, making you more efficient in processing and interpreting them. Neuroscientist Alex Brandmeyer shows that auditory perceptual learning can be facilitated using neurofeedback, helping to focus on the sound differences that really matter. On 19 March, he will receive his doctorate from Radboud University Nijmegen.

By presenting your brain activity as visual, sound or haptic feedback, neurofeedback allows you to regulate it while it is recorded. Brandmeyer used electroencephalography (EEG) to record brain activity of research participants while they listened to sounds. The measurements were visualised as changes in the clarity of films viewed by participants. Increases in clarity corresponded to enhancements of specific patterns of brain activity underlying auditory perception of the sounds. Participants were encouraged to adjust their listening strategies in order to improve the neurofeedback signal.

Importance of the mother tongue During his PhD at the Donders Institute of Radboud University Nijmegen, Brandmeyer investigated the differences in brain activity between native Dutch and English speakers while they listened to English sounds. Although the Dutch participants were fluent in English, their brains showed different responses to English sounds than those of native English speakers. According to Brandmeyer, this shows how subjectively we deal with sound: 'Some sound contrasts are important in one language but not in the other. These differences arise because our brains develop in a specific linguistic environment.' For instance, the vowel in the first syllable of the words 'cattle' or 'kettle' sounds the same for Dutch listeners , but not for native born English listeners.

Learning how to listen Brandmeyer also explored how we listen to music. During four sessions over the course of a week, test subjects had to listen to simple sounds with various pitches and distinguish them from one another. Additionally, half of the subjects received neurofeedback training based on their own brain activity, while the other half received fake neurofeedback. In the first group, the measured brain responses were enhanced during the training sessions relative to the control group. 'Longer periods of neurofeedback training could well lead to stronger perceptual learning effects', says Brandmeyer, 'but this requires more research in the future.'

In his thesis, Brandmeyer presents methods to make neurofeedback applicable for brain-computer interfaces (BCIs): software that you control with brain activity. He performed his research at the department of Cognitive Artificial Intelligence at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour of Radboud University Nijmegen. Brandmeyer is currently employed as a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, where he focuses on the neural mechanisms underlying auditory scene analysis. This is the process through which mixtures of sound can be perceived as coming from distinct objects in the environment, for instance when you are in a room with multiple people talking simultaneously.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Radboud University Nijmegen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Radboud University Nijmegen. "Learning how to listen with neurofeedback." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140306093605.htm>.
Radboud University Nijmegen. (2014, March 6). Learning how to listen with neurofeedback. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 3, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140306093605.htm
Radboud University Nijmegen. "Learning how to listen with neurofeedback." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140306093605.htm (accessed September 3, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) A new study suggests babies develop language skills more quickly if their parents imitate the babies' sounds and expressions and talk to them often. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins