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Neural Correlates of Auditory Pattern Learning in the Auditory Cortex.


Learning of new auditory stimuli often requires repetitive exposure to the stimulus. Fast and implicit learning of sounds presented at random times enables efficient auditory perception. However, it is unclear how such sensory encoding is processed on a neural level. We investigated neural responses that are developed from a passive, repetitive exposure to a specific sound in the auditory cortex of anesthetized rats, using electrocorticography. We presented a series of random sequences that are generated afresh each time, except for a specific reference sequence that remains constant and re-appears at random times across trials. We compared induced activity amplitudes between reference and fresh sequences. Neural responses from both primary and non-primary auditory cortical regions showed significantly decreased induced activity amplitudes for reference sequences compared to fresh sequences, especially in the beta band. This is the first study showing that neural correlates of auditory pattern learning can be evoked even in anesthetized, passive listening animal models.

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