Suppression of Auditory Processing by Attentional Modulation: A Combined Otoacoustic Emission and MEG Study

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


A number of previous studies have shown that focusing attention on a specific single stimulus in a complex multisensory environment is done by selecting relevant information while ignoring distracting input. Moreover, it has been demonstrated that the otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) measured during the execution of behavioral tasks can be modulated by attending or not attending the auditory sensory domain. This suggests that the cognitive and perceptual demands of a task can affect the first neural stage of auditory processing – the outer hair cells themselves. The underlying mechanism and involved neuronal levels of this attentional modulation are still a matter of debate. Here, in the center of interest is the cochlear amplifier which is known to be modulated by efferent neurons of the medial olivocochlear complex. In this study brain activity besides OAEs is measured by using magnetoencephalography (MEG) during an intermodal (visual/auditory) cueing paradigm. We found effects of selective attention for OAEs. The Power in a spectrum from 1 to 11 Hz is in general less for attend visual compared to attend auditory periods. The Power at 11 Hz was significantly higher in attend auditory vs. attend visual trials. This reflects a suppression of auditory processing as early as in the very first stage of auditory processing – in the cochlea. In conclusion, this study showed suppressed processing of auditory stimuli, when attention is focused on the visual modality, in the cochlea.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2017
Event1st Salzburg Mind-Brain Annual Meeting - Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät (NAWI), Salzburg, Austria
Duration: 13 Jul 201714 Jul 2017


Conference1st Salzburg Mind-Brain Annual Meeting
Abbreviated titleSAMBA 2017

Fields of Science and Technology Classification 2012

  • 501 Psychology

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