Washington, June 10 : Researchers at the University of Heidelberg have gained fresh insights into what enables people to follow a single conversation in the midst of a crowded, noisy room.
Alexander Gutschalk and his colleagues say that they have moved a step closer to unravelling this mystery by finding the neural correlates of conscious auditory perception.
In a research article published in the open-access journal PLoS Biology, Gutschalk's team has revealed that they assigned human subjects to detect target tones in a complex auditory scene, consisting distracting tones.
As the subjects performed that task, add the researchers, the researchers recorded their brain activity using magnetoencephalography (MEG).
The researchers say that the study revealed that the awareness of the sounds correlated with activity in high-level auditory regions in the brain, but not the initial cortical regions that process sound.
They believe that their study may influence future studies aimed at uncovering the neural mechanisms of conscious perception in natural and complex environments.