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Causal relationship between the right auditory cortex and speech-evoked frequency-following response: Evidence from combined tDCS and EEG

Mai, G; Howell, P; (2020) Causal relationship between the right auditory cortex and speech-evoked frequency-following response: Evidence from combined tDCS and EEG. BioRxiv: Cold Spring Harbor, NY, USA. Green open access

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Abstract

Speech-evoked frequency-following response (FFR) reflects the neural encoding of speech periodic information in the human auditory systems. FFR is of fundamental importance for pitch and speech perception and serves as clinical biomarkers for various auditory and language disorders. While it is suggested that the main neural source of FFR is in the auditory brainstem, recent studies have shown a cortical contribution to FFR predominantly in the right hemisphere. However, it is still unclear whether auditory cortex and FFR are causally related. The aim of this study was to establish this causal relationship using a combination of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and scalp-recorded electroencephalography (EEG). We applied tDCS over the left and right auditory cortices in right-handed normal-hearing participants and examined the after-effects of tDCS on FFR using EEG during monaural listening to a repeatedly-presented speech syllable. Our results showed that: (1) before tDCS was applied, participants had greater FFR magnitude when they listened to speech from the left than the right ear, illustrating right-lateralized hemispheric asymmetry for FFR; (2) anodal and cathodal tDCS applied over the right, but not left, auditory cortex significantly changed FFR magnitudes compared to the sham stimulation; specifically, such after-effects occurred only when participants listened to speech from the left ear, emphasizing the right auditory cortical contributions along the contralateral pathway. The current finding thus provides the first causal evidence that validates the relationship between the right auditory cortex and speech-evoked FFR and should significantly extend our understanding of speech encoding in the brain.

Type: Working / discussion paper
Title: Causal relationship between the right auditory cortex and speech-evoked frequency-following response: Evidence from combined tDCS and EEG
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1101/2020.03.10.985564
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.03.10.985564
Language: English
Additional information: The copyright holder for this preprint is the author/funder, who has granted bioRxiv a license to display the preprint in perpetuity. It is made available under a CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10119006
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