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Computational assessment of plasticity in spatial hearing

Duration: 01/2022 – 12/2024.
Grant number: 1/0350/22.

Project summary:

In everyday situations, humans are exposed to multiple concurrent stimuli in complex, continuously changing environments. To extract relevant information, they adapt their processing to reflect the specifics of the current scene, and they learn from previous experience to improve the perceptual strategies used. This project proposes to perform a series of behavioral experiments, brain imaging studies and computational modelling to examine the neural mechanisms of adaptation in sound localization in the distance and azimuth dimensions. Specifically, the project will: (1) use functional neuroimaging (fMRI) to identify neural correlates of distance perception; (2) study plasticity in horizontal sound localization on time scale of seconds to minutes; and (3) use advanced computational techniques to analyze and model the experimental results, to enhance theoretical understanding based on the collected behavioral and neuroimaging data. A workshop will be organized to strengthen the international collaborative and educational impact of the project. The expected results are critical for our understanding of the neural plasticity in spatial auditory processing in general and, in particular, of how normal-hearing listeners orient and communicate in complex environments.