A backward encoding approach to recover subcortical auditory activity

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


Several subcortical nuclei along the auditory pathway are involved in the processing of sounds. One of the most commonly used methods of measuring the activity of these nuclei is the auditory brainstem response (ABR). Due to its low signal-to-noise ratio, ABRs have to be derived by averaging activity evoked by a high number (several thousand) of repetitions of e.g. clicks or tone bursts. To date no approach exists that can be used to non-invasively investigate both auditory brainstem activity following natural sounds (e.g. speech, music) and silent periods, for example, within selective attention tasks. For several cognitive neuroscientific questions this is a severe limitation. We propose that by training a backward encoding model to reconstruct evoked ABRs from electrophysiological data, spatial filters (channel weights) can be obtained that are tuned to auditory brainstem activity. Since these filters can be applied to any other dataset (i.e. generalized) using the same spatial coverage, this could allow for the estimation of auditory brainstem activity from any continuous sensor level data. In this study, we established a proof-of-concept that by employing a backward encoding model generated using a click stimulation rate of 30 Hz we could predict the expected ABR activity recorded via electroencephalography (EEG) from an independent measurement, using a stimulation rate of 9 Hz. By showing that the individually predicted and measured ABRs are highly correlated (r ~ 0.67), we laid the necessary foundation to use this paradigm in more naturalistic listening situations.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2019
Event49th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) - McCormick Place, Chicago, United States
Duration: 19 Oct 201923 Oct 2019


Conference49th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN)
Abbreviated titleNeuroscience 2019
CountryUnited States

Fields of Science and Technology Classification 2012

  • 501 Psychology

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