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Hear Res. 2009 Feb;248(1-2):48-59. doi: 10.1016/j.heares.2008.11.012. Epub 2008 Dec 11.

Stimulus experience modifies auditory neuromagnetic responses in young and older listeners.

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Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Centre and University of Toronto, Ont., Canada.


Experiencing repeatedly presented auditory stimuli during magnetoencephalographic (MEG) recording may affect how the sound is processed in the listener's brain and may modify auditory evoked responses over the time course of the experiment. Amplitudes of N1 and P2 responses have been proposed as indicators for the outcome of training and learning studies. In this context the effect of merely sound experience on N1 and P2 responses was studied during two experimental sessions on different days with young, middle-aged, and older participants passively listening to speech stimuli and a noise sound. N1 and P2 were characterized as functionally distinct responses with P2 sources located more anterior than N1 in auditory cortices. N1 amplitudes decreased continuously during each recording session, but completely recovered between sessions. In contrast, P2 amplitudes were fairly constant within a session but increased from the first to the second day of MEG recording. Whereas N1 decrease was independent of age, the amount of P2 amplitude increase diminished with age. Temporal dynamics of N1 and P2 amplitudes were interpreted as reflecting neuroplastic changes along different time scales. The long lasting increase in P2 amplitude indicates that the auditory P2 response is potentially an important physiological correlate of perceptual learning, memory, and training.

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