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 19, 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 19, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. 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