Dr. Piia Astikainen, PhD

Group Members

M.A. Jari Kurkela

Dr. Arto Lipponen, PhD

Dr. Miriam Nokia, PhD

Dr. Markku Penttonen, PhD

Dr. Jarmo Hämäläinen, PhD

Professor Paavo Leppänen, PhD

Research description

The aim of the research is to elucidate the neural basis of central auditory functions, especially the neural basis of receptive language learning and learning to discriminate (foreign) speech sounds. We record the electrophysiological responses of rodents and humans in change-detection conditions. Local-field potentials recorded directly from the rodent brain give us temporarily accurate information from the cortical and subcortical brain structures. Event-related potential recordings with a high-density EEG system are used in humans. From 2009 to 2012, we conducted the project ‘Primitive auditory intelligence in the rat brain’ (Academy of Finland). Currently, the research topic is being further explored in the project ‘Learning of speech sound discrimination – insights from brain activity recordings in humans and rats’ (2014–2016, Academy of Finland).

Selected publications

    Ahmed, M., Mällo, T., Leppänen, P., Hämäläinen, J., Äyräväinen, L., Ruusuvirta, T. & Astikainen, P. (2011). Mismatch brain response to speech sound changes in rats. Frontiers in Psychology, 2 (283).

    Astikainen, P., Mällo, T., Ruusuvirta, T. & Näätänen, R. (2014a). Electrophysiological evidence for change detection in speech sound patterns by anesthetized rats. Frontiers in Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience, 8:374. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2014.00374

    Astikainen, P., Ruusuvirta, T. & Näätänen, R. (2014b). Rapid categorization of sound objects in anesthetized rats as indexed by the electrophysiological mismatch response. Psychophysiology, 51, 1195–1199. DOI: 10.1111/psyp.12284

    Astikainen, P., Ruusuvirta, T., Wikgren, J. & Penttonen, M. (2006). Memory-based detection of rare sound feature combinations in anesthetized rats.NeuroReport, 17, 1561-1564.

    Astikainen, P., Stefanics, G., Nokia, M., Lipponen, A., Cong, F., Penttonen, M. & Ruusuvirta, T. (2011). Memory-based mismatch response to frequency changes in rats. PLoS ONE, 6 (9).

    Näätänen, R., Astikainen, P., Ruusuvirta, T. & Huotilainen, M. (2010). Automatic auditory intelligence: An expression of the sensory-cognitive core of cognitive processes. Brain Research Reviews, 64 (1), 123-136.

    Ruusuvirta, T., Koivisto, K., Wikgren, J. & Astikainen, P. (2007). Processing of melodic contours in urethane-anaesthetized rats. European Journal of Neuroscience, 26 (3), 701-703.

    Ruusuvirta, T., Lipponen, A., Pellinen, E., Penttonen, M., & Astikainen P. (2013). Auditory cortical and hippocampal-system mismatch responses to duration deviants in urethane-anesthetized rats. PLoS One, 8(1):e54624.


Professor Risto Näätänen, Department of Psychology, University of Tartu, Estonia

Professor Hua Shu, Beijing Normal University, China

Professor Fengyu Cong, Dalian University of Technology, China

Dr. Timo Ruusuvirta, PhD, University of Turku, Finland