Sensory thresholds obtained from MEG data: cortical psychometric functions

Caroline Witton, Tulpesh Patel, Paul Furlong, Sian Worthen, G. Bruce Henning, Joel Talcott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Sensory sensitivity is typically measured using behavioural techniques (psychophysics), which rely on observers responding to very large numbers of stimulus presentations. Psychophysics can be problematic when working with special populations, such as children or clinical patients, because they may lack the compliance or cognitive skills to perform the behavioural tasks. We used an auditory gap-detection paradigm to develop an accurate measure of sensory threshold derived from passively-recorded MEG data.
Auditory evoked responses were elicited by silent gaps of varying durations in an on-going noise stimulus. Source modelling was used to spatially filter the MEG data and sigmoidal ‘cortical psychometric functions’ relating response amplitude to gap duration were obtained for each individual participant. Fitting the functions with a curve and estimating the gap duration at which the evoked response exceeded one standard deviation of the prestimulus brain activity provided an excellent prediction of psychophysical threshold.
Thus we have demonstrated that accurate sensory thresholds can be reliably extracted from MEG data recorded while participants listen passively to a stimulus. Because we required no behavioural task, the method is suitable for studies of populations where variations in cognitive skills or vigilance make traditional psychophysics unsuitable.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1249-1256
Number of pages8
JournalNeuroimage
Volume63
Issue number3
Early online date11 Aug 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2012

Fingerprint

Sensory Thresholds
Psychophysics
Psychometrics
Auditory Evoked Potentials
Population
Compliance
Noise
Brain

Keywords

  • auditory
  • gap-detection
  • MEG
  • psychophysics
  • threshold

Cite this

@article{68564415cb5a49d8811a02b1c474f20f,
title = "Sensory thresholds obtained from MEG data: cortical psychometric functions",
abstract = "Sensory sensitivity is typically measured using behavioural techniques (psychophysics), which rely on observers responding to very large numbers of stimulus presentations. Psychophysics can be problematic when working with special populations, such as children or clinical patients, because they may lack the compliance or cognitive skills to perform the behavioural tasks. We used an auditory gap-detection paradigm to develop an accurate measure of sensory threshold derived from passively-recorded MEG data. Auditory evoked responses were elicited by silent gaps of varying durations in an on-going noise stimulus. Source modelling was used to spatially filter the MEG data and sigmoidal ‘cortical psychometric functions’ relating response amplitude to gap duration were obtained for each individual participant. Fitting the functions with a curve and estimating the gap duration at which the evoked response exceeded one standard deviation of the prestimulus brain activity provided an excellent prediction of psychophysical threshold. Thus we have demonstrated that accurate sensory thresholds can be reliably extracted from MEG data recorded while participants listen passively to a stimulus. Because we required no behavioural task, the method is suitable for studies of populations where variations in cognitive skills or vigilance make traditional psychophysics unsuitable.",
keywords = "auditory, gap-detection, MEG, psychophysics, threshold",
author = "Caroline Witton and Tulpesh Patel and Paul Furlong and Sian Worthen and Henning, {G. Bruce} and Joel Talcott",
year = "2012",
month = "11",
day = "15",
doi = "10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.08.013",
language = "English",
volume = "63",
pages = "1249--1256",
journal = "Neuroimage",
issn = "1053-8119",
publisher = "Elsevier",
number = "3",

}

Sensory thresholds obtained from MEG data : cortical psychometric functions. / Witton, Caroline; Patel, Tulpesh; Furlong, Paul; Worthen, Sian; Henning, G. Bruce; Talcott, Joel.

In: Neuroimage, Vol. 63, No. 3, 15.11.2012, p. 1249-1256.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Sensory thresholds obtained from MEG data

T2 - cortical psychometric functions

AU - Witton, Caroline

AU - Patel, Tulpesh

AU - Furlong, Paul

AU - Worthen, Sian

AU - Henning, G. Bruce

AU - Talcott, Joel

PY - 2012/11/15

Y1 - 2012/11/15

N2 - Sensory sensitivity is typically measured using behavioural techniques (psychophysics), which rely on observers responding to very large numbers of stimulus presentations. Psychophysics can be problematic when working with special populations, such as children or clinical patients, because they may lack the compliance or cognitive skills to perform the behavioural tasks. We used an auditory gap-detection paradigm to develop an accurate measure of sensory threshold derived from passively-recorded MEG data. Auditory evoked responses were elicited by silent gaps of varying durations in an on-going noise stimulus. Source modelling was used to spatially filter the MEG data and sigmoidal ‘cortical psychometric functions’ relating response amplitude to gap duration were obtained for each individual participant. Fitting the functions with a curve and estimating the gap duration at which the evoked response exceeded one standard deviation of the prestimulus brain activity provided an excellent prediction of psychophysical threshold. Thus we have demonstrated that accurate sensory thresholds can be reliably extracted from MEG data recorded while participants listen passively to a stimulus. Because we required no behavioural task, the method is suitable for studies of populations where variations in cognitive skills or vigilance make traditional psychophysics unsuitable.

AB - Sensory sensitivity is typically measured using behavioural techniques (psychophysics), which rely on observers responding to very large numbers of stimulus presentations. Psychophysics can be problematic when working with special populations, such as children or clinical patients, because they may lack the compliance or cognitive skills to perform the behavioural tasks. We used an auditory gap-detection paradigm to develop an accurate measure of sensory threshold derived from passively-recorded MEG data. Auditory evoked responses were elicited by silent gaps of varying durations in an on-going noise stimulus. Source modelling was used to spatially filter the MEG data and sigmoidal ‘cortical psychometric functions’ relating response amplitude to gap duration were obtained for each individual participant. Fitting the functions with a curve and estimating the gap duration at which the evoked response exceeded one standard deviation of the prestimulus brain activity provided an excellent prediction of psychophysical threshold. Thus we have demonstrated that accurate sensory thresholds can be reliably extracted from MEG data recorded while participants listen passively to a stimulus. Because we required no behavioural task, the method is suitable for studies of populations where variations in cognitive skills or vigilance make traditional psychophysics unsuitable.

KW - auditory

KW - gap-detection

KW - MEG

KW - psychophysics

KW - threshold

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84866177713&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.08.013

DO - 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.08.013

M3 - Article

VL - 63

SP - 1249

EP - 1256

JO - Neuroimage

JF - Neuroimage

SN - 1053-8119

IS - 3

ER -