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Neurocognitive Mechanisms of Auditory Perception - Challenging The Human Auditory System at The Limits of Hearing

English title Neurocognitive Mechanisms of Auditory Perception - Challenging The Human Auditory System at The Limits of Hearing
Applicant Frühholz Sascha
Number 157409
Funding scheme SNSF Professorships
Research institution Psychologisches Institut Universität Zürich
Institution of higher education University of Zurich - ZH
Main discipline Psychology
Start/End 01.09.2015 - 31.08.2019
Approved amount 1'565'068.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Psychology
Neurophysiology and Brain Research

Keywords (10)

psychoacoustics; vocal production; human voice; functional magnetic resonance imaging; limbic system; hearing limits; auditory perception; vocal emotions; neural network; neural auditory system

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Auditorische Wahrnehmung und auditorische Kommunikation können in alltäglichen Umgebungen oft sehr schwierig sein, wie etwa (1) das Hören von weit entfernten und sehr leisen akustischen Signalen, (2) das Hören von akustischen Signalen in sehr lauten Umgebungen, oder (3) das Verstehen von Sprache einer einzelnen Person, wenn mehrere Sprecher gleichzeitig sprechen. Unter diesen Umgebungsbedingungen ist Hören eine Gradwanderung speziell zwischen dem Verstehen oder Nichtverstehen von bedeutungsvollen humanen Vokalisationen.
Lay summary

Inhalt und Ziel des Forschungsprojekts

Die Untersuchung unter diesen erschwerenden Umgebungsbedingungen ist ein bisher weitgehend vernachlässigter Bereich in der Forschung zum menschlichen Hören. In diesem Forschungsprojekt sollen in drei Teilprojekten neue Forschungsparadigmen der Psychoakustik eingeführt werden, welche menschliches Hören unter erschwerten Umgebungsbedingung im Labor untersuchen, und welche sehr nahe an den oben beschriebenen und bekannten Störeinflüssen in Umgebungsbedingungen angelehnt sind.  Das Forschungsprojekt hat zwei übergreifende Ziele: (1) Ziel ist es zu untersuchen, ob und wie bisher bekannte menschliche Hörmechanismen unter diesen erschwerten Hörbedingungen funktionieren; (2) Ziel ist es auch, bisher neue und weitgehend unbeschriebene Mechanismen der Hörwahrnehmung zu beschreiben, welche vorwiegend an den Grenzen des menschlichen Hörvermögens auftreten, aber welche wahrscheinlich auch relevant für unser Verständnis des normalen menschlichen Hörens sind.

 

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext

Das Forschungsprojekt kombiniert neue Perspektiven aus dem Bereich der Psychoakustik und hochentwickelte bildgebende Techniken der Neuro-Radiologie zur Darstellung von Gehirnprozessen im neuronalen Hörsystem des Menschen. Die Ergebnisse aus diesem Forschungsprojekt haben sehr bedeutende Implikationen für die angewandten Wissenschaften (z.B. Entwicklung von Hörhilfen) als auch für die Erklärung von ungewöhnlichen Hörphänomenen in unserer alltäglichen Umgebung. 

 

 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 27.03.2015

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Human amygdala response to unisensory and multisensory emotion input: No evidence for superadditivity from intracranial recordings
Domínguez-Borràs Judith, Guex Raphaël, Méndez-Bértolo Constantino, Legendre Guillaume, Spinelli Laurent, Moratti Stephan, Frühholz Sascha, Mégevand Pierre, Arnal Luc, Strange Bryan, Seeck Margitta, Vuilleumier Patrik (2019), Human amygdala response to unisensory and multisensory emotion input: No evidence for superadditivity from intracranial recordings, in Neuropsychologia, 131, 9-24.
Audiomotor integration of angry and happy prosodies
CollSelim, FrühholzSascha, GrandjeanDidier (2018), Audiomotor integration of angry and happy prosodies, in Psychological Research, 1-9.
Neurocircuitry of impaired affective sound processing: A clinical disorders perspective
Frühholz Sascha, Staib Matthias (2017), Neurocircuitry of impaired affective sound processing: A clinical disorders perspective, in Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 1.
Amygdala structure and core dimensions of the affective personality
Frühholz Sascha, Schlegel Katja, Grandjean Didier (2017), Amygdala structure and core dimensions of the affective personality, in Brain Structure and Function, 1.
Universum Autoencoder-Based Domain Adaptation for Speech Emotion Recognition
Deng Jun, Xu Xinzhou, Zhang Zixing, Fruhholz Sascha, Schuller Bjorn (2017), Universum Autoencoder-Based Domain Adaptation for Speech Emotion Recognition, in IEEE Signal Processing Letters, 24(4), 500-504.
Semi-Supervised Autoencoders for Speech Emotion Recognition
Deng Jun, Xu Xinzhou, Zhang Zixing, Fruhholz Sascha, Schuller Bjorn (2017), Semi-Supervised Autoencoders for Speech Emotion Recognition, in IEEE/ACM Transactions on Audio, Speech, and Language Processing, 1-1.
Selective perturbation of cognitive conflict in the human brain–A combined fMRI and rTMS study
Peschke Claudia, Köster Raphael, Korsch Margarethe, Frühholz Sascha, Thiel Christiane M., Herrmann Manfred, Hilgetag Claus C. (2016), Selective perturbation of cognitive conflict in the human brain–A combined fMRI and rTMS study, in Scientific Reports, 6(1), 38700-38700.
Amygdala and auditory cortex exhibit distinct sensitivity to relevant acoustic features of auditory emotions
Pannese Alessia, Grandjean Didier, Frühholz Sascha (2016), Amygdala and auditory cortex exhibit distinct sensitivity to relevant acoustic features of auditory emotions, in Cortex, 85, 116-125.
Perceiving emotional expressions in others: Activation likelihood estimation meta-analyses of explicit evaluation, passive perception and incidental perception of emotions
Dricu Mihai, Frühholz Sascha (2016), Perceiving emotional expressions in others: Activation likelihood estimation meta-analyses of explicit evaluation, passive perception and incidental perception of emotions, in Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 71, 810-828.
Exploitation of Phase-based Features for Whispered Speech Emotion Recognition
Deng J. Xu X. Zhang Z. Frühholz S. Schuller B. (2016), Exploitation of Phase-based Features for Whispered Speech Emotion Recognition, in IEEE Access, 4299 - 4299.
The effect of narrow-band transmission on recognition of paralinguistic information from human vocalizations
Frühholz S. Marchi E. Schuller B. (2016), The effect of narrow-band transmission on recognition of paralinguistic information from human vocalizations, in IEEE Access, 1.
The sound of emotions – towards a unifying neural network perspective of affective sound processing
Frühholz S. Trost W. Kotz S. (2016), The sound of emotions – towards a unifying neural network perspective of affective sound processing, in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 96.
Whispering - the hidden side of auditory communication
Frühholz S. Trost W. Kotz S. (2016), Whispering - the hidden side of auditory communication, in NeuroImage, 1-10.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Dr. Wietske Van der Zwaag, EPFL Lausanne, Switzerland Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Prof. Sona Patel, Seton Hall University, USA United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
PD Dr. Björn Schuller, Department of Computing, Imperial College London, UK Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Pascal Belin, Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology, University of Glasgow, UK Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Christian Ruff, Department of Economics, University of Zürich, Switzerland Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Dr. Manfred Herrmann, University of Bremen, Germany Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
SNF Annual meeting 2018 Poster The primate voice-sensitive cortex is a general acoustic pattern analyzer 01.11.2018 San Diego, United States of America Staib Matthias; Frühholz Sascha;
SFN Annual Meeting Poster Neural competition in auditory decoding of own- and other-vocalizations. 01.11.2018 San Diego, United States of America Dietziker Joris Gabriel; Staib Matthias; Frühholz Sascha;
SNF Annual meeting Poster Voice activity detection in the brain: Understanding the spatio-temporal characteristics of voice detection in the auditory cortex during fMRI 01.11.2018 San Diego, United States of America Staib Matthias; Swanborough Huw Martin; Frühholz Sascha;
DGPs Tagung 2018 Talk given at a conference Confidence in brain data replicability - Panel discussion 20.09.2018 Frankfurt, Germany Frühholz Sascha;
DGPs Tagung 2018 Talk given at a conference Recognizing emotions from normal and from whispered voices 19.09.2018 Frankfurt, Germany Frühholz Sascha;
DGPs Tagung 2018 Individual talk Neural mechanisms of nonverbal communication – The need for a dyadic perspective 19.09.2018 Frankfurt, Germany Frühholz Sascha;
ESCAN 2018 - European Society for Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Talk given at a conference Effects of amygdala lesions on the neural processing of affective voices 22.07.2018 Leiden, Netherlands Frühholz Sascha;
ZNZ PhD scholl Poster Decoding of emotions in whispered voices in the human limbic system: insights from neural spike and LFP recordings 10.05.2018 Neurorehabilitation Clinic Valens, Switzerland Frühholz Sascha;
ZNZ PhD school Talk given at a conference Voice activity detection in the brain 10.05.2018 Neurorehabilitation Clinic Valens, Switzerland Frühholz Sascha; Swanborough Huw Martin;
Senior College Liechtenstein Individual talk Beyond speech – Social communication in the tone of the voice 26.04.2018 Liechtenstein, Liechtenstein Frühholz Sascha;
Phonetics interdisciplinary lectures at UZH Individual talk Neural systems for perceiving and producing affective vocalizations 27.03.2018 Zürich, Switzerland Frühholz Sascha;
Tagung experimentell arbeitender Psychologen (TEAP) Talk given at a conference Recognizing emotions from normal and from whispered voices 12.03.2018 Marburg, Germany Frühholz Sascha;
MPI Neuroscience Series Individual talk The neural network for the production and perception of affective voices. Max Planch Institute for Cognitive and Brain Science 10.08.2017 Leipzig, Germany Frühholz Sascha;
Neuroeconomics Colloquium Zurich Individual talk The neural network for the production and perception of affective voices 02.12.2016 Zurich, Switzerland Frühholz Sascha;
ZNZ meeting Zurich Talk given at a conference Neural system for processing human voices and affective vocalizations 15.09.2016 Zürich, Switzerland Staib Matthias; Frühholz Sascha;


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Forum Rottweil Talk 04.10.2016 Rottweil, Switzerland Frühholz Sascha;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Bald droht der Stimmenklau: Eine Vision aus einem Bond-Film wird Realität St. Gallner Tagblatt German-speaking Switzerland 2019
Talks/events/exhibitions Scientifica UZH German-speaking Switzerland 2019
Talks/events/exhibitions 100 ways of thinking Western Switzerland 2018
Media relations: print media, online media Ich hab dich zum Fressen gern HIIGGS magazin German-speaking Switzerland 2018
Talks/events/exhibitions Panel discussion - Artists and Scientists - Kunsthalle Zürich Western Switzerland 2018
Media relations: radio, television Die neue Gefahr bei Grossanlässen SRF Western Switzerland 2017
Talks/events/exhibitions Forum Rottweil; „brain meets music“ International 2016
Media relations: print media, online media Für den Ekel können wir nichts Otschweiz am Sonntag German-speaking Switzerland 2016

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
183152 "Voice Theft": Chances and risks of digital voice technology 01.12.2018 Digital Lives
146559 The sound of a voice: processing of acoustic features of vocal emotions in the ascending auditory pathway and higher-level cognitive systems 01.09.2013 Project funding
182135 Dynamic influences on auditory emotion recognition by modulations of vocally and musically expressed emotions 01.04.2019 Project funding
183711 Neurocognitive Mechanisms of Auditory Perception - Challenging The Human Auditory System at The Limits of Hearing 01.09.2019 SNSF Professorships

Abstract

Auditory perception and communication often face considerable challenges in daily life, such as hearing sounds at low intensities, hearing in extremely noisy or in multi-speaker environments. Hearing under these conditions is a tightrope walk between the successful or unsuccessful decoding of meaningful auditory information. The present proposal aims at introducing three different paradigms, which are supposed to resemble these real life challenges for human hearing. The first project part aims at investigating the perceptual abilities at the lowest level of loudness, which renders auditory objects nearly unperceivable. Interestingly, appropriate noise can improve perception at these low intensity levels, and this project part aims to describe the neural effects that lead to this paradoxical facilitatory effect. The second project part deals with auditory perception during considerable background noise. It will include new experimental perspectives derived from machine-based algorithms of speech decoding and from visual neuroscience, enabling us to understand how meaningful auditory objects and features are singled out from noise.The third project part deals with conditions of hearing while simultaneously producing vocalizations. This is an enormous multitask challenge and introduces a competition between producing self-vocalizations and the perception of vocalizations of others. This condition often leads to an inability to detect and discriminate the vocal message of others, and also seems to imply paradoxical neural effects.Overall, the proposed research project combines new perspectives from psychoacoustics and cutting-edge neuroimaging techniques, which would allow to reveal new principles of auditory perception including some paradoxical effects in the auditory system that are not yet fully captured by common neurocognitive theories of auditory perception. Accordingly, the results will also have strong implications for many fields of applied sciences.
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