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Neural Measures of Pitch Processing in EEG Responses to Running Speech

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Vis graf over relationer

Linearized encoding models are increasingly employed to model cortical responses to running speech. Recent extensions to subcortical responses suggest clinical perspectives, potentially complementing auditory brainstem responses (ABRs) or frequency-following responses (FFRs) that are current clinical standards. However, while it is well-known that the auditory brainstem responds both to transient amplitude variations and the stimulus periodicity that gives rise to pitch, these features co-vary in running speech. Here, we discuss challenges in disentangling the features that drive the subcortical response to running speech. Cortical and subcortical electroencephalographic (EEG) responses to running speech from 19 normal-hearing listeners (12 female) were analyzed. Using forward regression models, we confirm that responses to the rectified broadband speech signal yield temporal response functions consistent with wave V of the ABR, as shown in previous work. Peak latency and amplitude of the speech-evoked brainstem response were correlated with standard click-evoked ABRs recorded at the vertex electrode (Cz). Similar responses could be obtained using the fundamental frequency (F0) of the speech signal as model predictor. However, simulations indicated that dissociating responses to temporal fine structure at the F0 from broadband amplitude variations is not possible given the high co-variance of the features and the poor signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of subcortical EEG responses. In cortex, both simulations and data replicated previous findings indicating that envelope tracking on frontal electrodes can be dissociated from responses to slow variations in F0 (relative pitch). Yet, no association between subcortical F0-tracking and cortical responses to relative pitch could be detected. These results indicate that while subcortical speech responses are comparable to click-evoked ABRs, dissociating pitch-related processing in the auditory brainstem may be challenging with natural speech stimuli.

TidsskriftFrontiers in Neuroscience
Sider (fra-til)1-11
Antal sider11
StatusUdgivet - 21 dec. 2021

Bibliografisk note

Copyright © 2021 Bachmann, MacDonald and Hjortkjær.

ID: 70586930