Slow phase-locked endogenous modulations support selective attention to sound
Kachlicka M., Laffere A., Dick F., Tierney A.
<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>To make sense of complex soundscapes, listeners must select and attend to task-relevant streams while ignoring uninformative sounds. One possible neural mechanism underlying this process is alignment of endogenous oscillations with the temporal structure of the target sound stream. Such a mechanism has been suggested to mediate attentional modulation of neural phase-locking to the rhythms of attended sounds. However, such modulations are compatible with an alternate framework, where attention acts as a filter that enhances exogenously-driven neural auditory responses. Here we attempted to adjudicate between theoretical accounts by playing two tone steams varying across condition in tone duration and presentation rate; participants attended to one stream or listened passively. Attentional modulation of the evoked waveform was roughly sinusoidal and scaled with rate, while the passive response did not. This suggests that auditory attentional selection is carried out via phase-locking of slow endogenous neural rhythms.</jats:p>