Cochlear activity during silent periods shows a theta rhythmic pattern and is correlated to classical intermodal attention alpha effects

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


It is well established that the auditory efferent network can influence cochlear processes via direct and mediated projections from the auditory cortex to the superior olivary complex (SOC). Though, there is an ongoing controversy where in the processing hierarchy of this network attention processes take effect. So far all studies showing attentional modulations of cochlear responses have been limited to sound evoked responses (e. g. Wittekindt et al. 2014).
The present study uses a trial-wise cueing paradigm to investigate audiovisual selective attention in humans simultaneously at the cortical and cochlear level during a stimulus-free cue-target period.
First, it was found that cochlear activity in silent cue-target periods was for both auditory and visual selective attention intrinsically modulated by a theta-rhythmic pattern (~4 Hz). Second, during periods of auditory selective attention slow modulations of cochlear activity were enhanced. Functional brain data revealed that posterior alpha and beta activity was enhanced during auditory selective attention. Interestingly, the found cochlear and ‘classical’ cortical posterior alpha attention effects showed a significant negative correlation.
It is hinted that the attentional sampling of the cochlea is putatively driven by a theta rhythm. Eventually, the correlation between cochlear and cortical attention effects suggests that participants showing the ‘classical’ posterior alpha modulations to a lesser extent appear to engage more strongly the efferent auditory system.
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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