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Hear Res. 2011 Jan;271(1-2):54-65. doi: 10.1016/j.heares.2010.05.011. Epub 2010 Jun 10.

Evolutionary conservation and neuronal mechanisms of auditory perceptual restoration.

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Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University, Framlington Place, Newcastle upon Tyne NE24HH, United Kingdom.


Auditory perceptual 'restoration' occurs when the auditory system restores an occluded or masked sound of interest. Behavioral work on auditory restoration in humans began over 50 years ago using it to model a noisy environmental scene with competing sounds. It has become clear that not only humans experience auditory restoration: restoration has been broadly conserved in many species. Behavioral studies in humans and animals provide a necessary foundation to link the insights being obtained from human EEG and fMRI to those from animal neurophysiology. The aggregate of data resulting from multiple approaches across species has begun to clarify the neuronal bases of auditory restoration. Different types of neural responses supporting restoration have been found, supportive of multiple mechanisms working within a species. Yet a general principle has emerged that responses correlated with restoration mimic the response that would have been given to the uninterrupted sound of interest. Using the same technology to study different species will help us to better harness animal models of 'auditory scene analysis' to clarify the conserved neural mechanisms shaping the perceptual organization of sound and to advance strategies to improve hearing in natural environmental settings.

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