The present project seeks to bridge between two important lines of research in current systems neuroscience in order to enlarge our understanding of the brain’s representation of the acoustic environment. The first line investigates the neuronal mechanisms underlying auditory sensory memory trace formation. This constituted the backbone of the applicant’s PhD thesis and as well, is a major emphasis of the research group lead by Dr. Carles Escera at the return host organization of this proposal. The second line investigates the role of low-frequency neuronal oscillations tuned to environmental rhythms in dynamically shaping the excitability of neuronal ensembles, and constitutes a major topic of the research group lead by Dr. Charles Schroeder at the outgoing host organization of this proposal. In this project, both lines of research will be bridged by a series of experiments conducted in both human and nonhuman primates, aiming to unravel the neuronal mechanisms underlying the formation of internal models of the acoustic environment. In short, we seek to characterize the role of brain oscillations entrained to stimulation rhythm (Predictive Timing) in modulating neuronal adaptation to stimulus statistics (Predictive Coding) at cortical and subcortical stages of the auditory pathway, integrating information obtained at a neuronal macro-scale, observed with human electroencephalography, with that obtained at a micro-scale, observed with laminar profiles of post-synaptic potentials and neuronal spiking activity in macaques. The outcomes of this project will provide both a significant step towards understanding the predictive nature of the brain’s representation of sensory events, and new empirical bases for developing theoretical models of perception. These models will in turn, guide further human and nonhuman animal research and contribute to clinical studies on socially and economically relevant psychiatric syndromes such as schizophrenia.
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