Electrical activity in a specific region of the brain called parietal cortex helps detect a transition between two complex sounds in the environment, reveals a new study.
The study conducted of human participants was published in eNeuro.
The research provides insight into how the brain tunes into relevant changes in the environment to optimize behavior.
Detecting changes in a natural soundscape is essential for identifying which sounds should be attended to.
Bernhard Englitz and colleagues presented participants with random changes (or no change) between two acoustic textures resembling rain, applause or bubbling water through headphones while their brain activity was recorded using electroencephalography.
The research team found that the longer participants were exposed to the first texture, the faster their reaction time and ability to identify the changes.
Activity in the precuneus, a part of the parietal cortex near the occipital lobe, appears to be the source of these effects, which were stronger when participants were prompted to indicate whether or not they noticed a change, but also present in passive listening conditions.