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.
- Jonas Obleser
- Jonas Obleser
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Human subjects: All participants gave informed consent and were financially compensated or received course credit. All procedures were approved by the local ethics committee of the University of Lübeck (ethical approval AZ 16-107).
- Ingrid S Johnsrude, University of Western Ontario, Canada
© 2020, Erb et al.
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