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Behav Brain Res. 2015;287:256-64. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2015.03.044. Epub 2015 Mar 28.

Speech training alters consonant and vowel responses in multiple auditory cortex fields.

Author information

1
School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, The University of Texas at Dallas, 800 West Campbell Road, GR41, Richardson, TX 75080, United States. Electronic address: novitski@utdallas.edu.
2
School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, The University of Texas at Dallas, 800 West Campbell Road, GR41, Richardson, TX 75080, United States.

Abstract

Speech sounds evoke unique neural activity patterns in primary auditory cortex (A1). Extensive speech sound discrimination training alters A1 responses. While the neighboring auditory cortical fields each contain information about speech sound identity, each field processes speech sounds differently. We hypothesized that while all fields would exhibit training-induced plasticity following speech training, there would be unique differences in how each field changes. In this study, rats were trained to discriminate speech sounds by consonant or vowel in quiet and in varying levels of background speech-shaped noise. Local field potential and multiunit responses were recorded from four auditory cortex fields in rats that had received 10 weeks of speech discrimination training. Our results reveal that training alters speech evoked responses in each of the auditory fields tested. The neural response to consonants was significantly stronger in anterior auditory field (AAF) and A1 following speech training. The neural response to vowels following speech training was significantly weaker in ventral auditory field (VAF) and posterior auditory field (PAF). This differential plasticity of consonant and vowel sound responses may result from the greater paired pulse depression, expanded low frequency tuning, reduced frequency selectivity, and lower tone thresholds, which occurred across the four auditory fields. These findings suggest that alterations in the distributed processing of behaviorally relevant sounds may contribute to robust speech discrimination.

KEYWORDS:

Auditory processing; Map reorganization; Receptive field plasticity; Speech therapy

PMID:
25827927
PMCID:
PMC4424170
DOI:
10.1016/j.bbr.2015.03.044
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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