Selective adaptation to "Oddball" sounds by the human auditory system

Andrew J R Simpson, Nicol S. Harper, Joshua D. Reiss, David McAlpine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


Adaptation to bothcommonand rare sounds has been independently reported in neurophysiological studies using probabilistic stimulus paradigms in small mammals. However, the apparent sensitivity of the mammalian auditory system to the statistics of incoming sound has not yet been generalized to task-related human auditory perception. Here, we show that human listeners selectively adapt to novel sounds within scenes unfolding over minutes. Listeners' performance in an auditory discrimination task remains steady for the most common elements within the scene but, after the first minute, performance improves for distinct and rare (oddball) sound elements, at the expense of rare sounds that are relatively less distinct. Our data provide the first evidence of enhanced coding of oddball sounds in a human auditory discrimination task and suggest the existence of an adaptive mechanism that tracks the long-term statistics of sounds and deploys coding resources accordingly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1963-1969
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


Dive into the research topics of 'Selective adaptation to "Oddball" sounds by the human auditory system'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this