Oscillatory Neural Activity during Performance of a Cognitive Task in the Presence of Fluctuating Ambient Noise

Kazuo KATO  Satoshi YASUKAWA  Kazunori SUZUKI  Atsuo ISHIKAWA  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Information and Systems   Vol.E100-D   No.1   pp.181-189
Publication Date: 2017/01/01
Publicized: 2016/10/13
Online ISSN: 1745-1361
DOI: 10.1587/transinf.2016EDP7300
Type of Manuscript: PAPER
Category: Biocybernetics, Neurocomputing
workplace auditory evaluation,  fluctuating ambient noise,  oscillatory neural activity,  3-back task,  

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The purpose of this study was to identify the key variables that determine the quality of the auditory environment, for the purposes of workplace auditory design and assessment. To this end, we characterized changes in oscillatory neural activity in electroencephalographic (EEG) data recorded from subjects who performed an intellectual activity while exposed to fluctuating ambient noise. Seven healthy men participated in the study. Subjects performed a verbal and spatial task that used the 3-back task paradigm to study working memory. During the task, subjects were presented with auditory stimuli grouped by increasing high-frequency content: (1) a sound with frequencies similar to Brownian noise and no modulation; (2) an amplitude-modulated sound with frequencies similar to white noise; (3) amplitude-modulated pink noise; and (4) amplitude-modulated Brownian noise. Upon presentation, we observed a characteristic change in three EEG bands: theta (4-8Hz), alpha (8-13Hz), and beta (13-30Hz). In particular, a frequency-dependent enhancement and reduction of power was observed in the theta and beta bands, respectively.