Poster D1, Monday, March 26, 8:00-10:00 am, Exhibit Hall C
Acoustic Effects on Oscillatory Markers of Sustained Attention
Psyche Loui1, Emily Przysinda1, Gonçalo Sampaio1, Tedra James1, Adam Hewett2, Benjamin Morillon3, Kevin Woods4; 1Wesleyan University, 2Transparent Corp, 3Aix Marseille University, 4Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Entrainment of neural oscillations is proposed to underlie sustained attention, which is required for the successful performance of everyday cognitive tasks. The ability to alter attention by modifying oscillatory neuronal activity has been demonstrated recently, but remains limited thus far to systems that rely on knowledge of brain state (i.e., neural recordings) or noninvasive brain stimulation. The auditory neuroscience startup company, Brain.fm, purports to enhance attention via acoustic stimulation designed to entrain neural activity. Here, we test the hypothesis that acoustic stimulation could affect performance on a sustained attention task. We recorded EEG from human subjects (N = 45) while they completed the Sustained Attention to Response Task. During the task, subjects listened to Brain.fm or one of three control conditions (silence, pink noise, or music from Spotify). Behavioral results showed that the slope of coefficients of variation in reaction time (RTCV_slope), an index of failures of sustained attention, was lowest during the Brain.fm condition. EEG showed strong SSEPs at the task frequency (0.91 Hz) and its harmonics, as well as localized (left-motor) increases in the beta range in the Brain.fm condition only. We further separated the subjects into Effective (n = 19) vs. Ineffective (n = 26) users based on their RTCV_slope. Effective users showed the strongest beta enhancement as well as higher SSEPs at harmonics of the task frequency, suggesting higher entrainment to the task. Results suggest that purpose-built acoustic stimulation can support the neuronal oscillations underlying sustained attention, thus boosting a listener's productivity and well-being.
Topic Area: ATTENTION: Auditory