Wolfger von der Behrens
Doctoral student

Research projectAttentional modulation of auditory signal processing – its neuronal basis in the rat auditory cortex A1

How does attention improve performance? My project approaches this issue from two different directions which it unifies - the psychophysics and the neurophysiology of attention.

Rats are trained on an auditory discrimination task that involves the covert shift of attention. This tasks requires a discrimination of frequency modulated tones by the animal after the presentation of an auditory cue (Posners paradigm). At the same time we measure the influence of attention on the signal processing in the auditory cortex A1 by means of extracellular recordings with multiple electrodes. With this setup it is possible to record simultaneously psychophysical parameters (i.e. reaction time) and single neuron activity in the cortex (i.e. spiking rate).

This approach reconciles two different levels of description for the phenomenon of attention.

Further readings:

Treue, S., Maunsell, J. H. (1996): Attentional modulation of visual motion processing in cortical areas MT and MST. Nature, 382: 539 – 541.
Posner, M.I. (1980): Orienting of Attention. Quart. J. of Exp. Psychol., 32: 3 – 25.
Reynolds, J. H., Pasternak, T., Desimone, R. (2000): Attention increases sensitivity of V4 neurons. Neuron, 26: 703 – 714.
Styles, E. A. (1997): The psychology of attention. Psychology Press.



2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2003
Publications 2008

von der Behrens, W. ; Gaese, B. (2008):
Intracortical Auditory Evekod Potentials to Frequency Deviants in an Oddball Paradigm in the Awake Rat Auditory Cortex.
Assoc Res Otolaryngol Abs: 904.

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Publications 2007

von der Behrens, W. ; Kössl, M. ; Gaese, B. (2007):
Parameters Influencing Neuronal Adaptation to Pure Tone Stimuli in the Awake Rat Auditory Cortex.
Assoc Res Otolaryngol Abs: 405.

von der Behrens, W. ; Kössl, M. ; Gaese, B. (2007):
Neuronal Adaptation to Pure Tone Stimuli in the Awake Rat Auditory Cortex.
Neuroforum 07 (1 Suppl): T19-13A.

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Publications 2006

Gaese, B. ; King, I. ; Felsheim, C. ; Ostwald, J. ; von der Behrens, W. (2006):
Discrimination of direction in fast frequency-modulated tones by rats.
J Assoc Res Otolaryngol 7 (1): 48-58.

Gaese, B. ; Felsheim, C. ; King, I. ; von der Behrens, W. ; Ostwald, J. (2006):
Efficiency versus precision of adaptive threshold estimation in animal psychoacoustics: Evidence from auditory discrimination in rats.
Assoc Res Otolaryngol Abs: 756.

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Publications 2005

von der Behrens, W. ; Gaese, B. (2005):
Investigating the influence of spatial attention on the processing of frequency-modulated tones in the rat.
Neuroforum 05 (1 Suppl): 103 B.

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Publications 2003

Brandt, M. D. ; Jessberger, S. ; Steiner, B. ; Kronenberg, G ; Reuter, K. ; Bick-Sander, A. ; von der Behrens, W. ; Kempermann, G (2003):
Transient calretinin expression defines early postmitotic step of neuronal differentiation in adult hippocampal neurogenesis of mice.
Mol Cell Neurosci 24 (3): 603-613.

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