Doctoral Dissertation

19.6.2018 M.A. Jari Kurkela (Faculty of Education and Psychology, Psychology)


19.6.2018 12:00 — 15:00

Location: Seminaarinmaki , S212
M.A. (Psych.) Jari Kurkela defends his doctoral dissertation in Psychology "Auditory perceptual learning: Evidence from electrophysiological recordings from rodents and humans".

Opponent Emerita Professor Patricia Michie (University of Newcastle, UK) and Custos Docent Piia Astikainen (University of Jyväskylä). The doctoral dissertation is held in English.

The acoustic environment contains important cues for survival, making their prompt detection behaviourally relevant. Auditory perceptual detection of changes can be enhanced via behavioural training, which results in the formation of new memory representations of learned sounds. In early development, during the sensitive period, the emergence of new memory representations of sounds, such as speech sounds in humans, is automatic and can happen passively without attentive training. It is traditionally thought that, after the sensitive period, only attentive training can enhance change detection and induce long-term memory representations. However, whether passive exposure to sounds can develop long-term memory representations in adulthood is not yet fully resolved. Auditory change detection can be studied by measuring the brain’s electrical activity. Study I demonstrated that change detection in mice, as measured with the brain’s local-field potentials (LFPs) from the auditory cortex, was dependent on sensory memory and reflected detection of regularity violations, as has been found previously in humans. Study II, conducted on adult rats, showed that passive exposure to novel speech sounds for three consecutive days, 12 hours per day, resulted in the formation of long-term memory traces as indexed by LFPs in the auditory cortex. Furthermore, in Study III, conducted on adult humans, passive exposure to novel speech sounds for four consecutive days, two hours per day, modulated the brain’s event-related potentials (ERPs), reflecting the development of new memory representations. Overall, the results from Studies I and II suggest that auditory memory and perceptual learning are reflected by automatic brain responses in rodents, indicating that these animal models are feasible for studying the neural underpinnings of auditory cognition. Studies II and III demonstrate that passive exposure in adulthood can induce the formation of new memory traces. These results require re-evaluation of the prevailing theories of perceptual learning.

Jyväskylä Studies in Education, Psychology and Social Research number 618, 46 s., Jyväskylä 2018. ISSN 0075-4625, 618; ISBN 978-951-39-7460-2 (PDF); ISBN 978-951-39-7459-6 (nid.) http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-7460-2, ISBN 978-951-39-7460-2 (PD

Further information:
Jari Kurkela, tel. +358408054538, jari.kurkela@jyu.fi
tiedottaja Anitta Kananen tiedotus@jyu.fi, tel. +358 40 805 4142