What is it about?

When we listen to speech sounds, our brain needs to combine information from both hemispheres. How does the brain integrate acoustic information from remote areas? In a neuroimaging study, a team of researchers led by the Max Planck Institute of Psycholinguistics, the Donders Institute and the University of Zurich applied electrical stimulation to participants’ brains during a listening task. The stimulation affected the connection between the two hemispheres, which in turn changed participants’ listening behaviour.

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Why is it important?

This is the first demonstration in the auditory domain that interhemispheric connectivity is important for the integration of speech sound information. These results give us valuable insights into how the brain’s hemispheres are coordinated, and how we may use experimental techniques to manipulate this.

Perspectives

The findings may have clinical implications. We know that disturbances of interhemispheric connectivity occur in auditory ‘phantom’ perceptions, such as tinnitus and auditory verbal hallucinations. Therefore, stimulating the two hemispheres with (HD-)TACS may offer therapeutic benefits.

Basil Preisig
Universitat Zurich

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This page is a summary of: Selective modulation of interhemispheric connectivity by transcranial alternating current stimulation influences binaural integration, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, February 2021, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2015488118.
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