ISCA Workshop on Plasticity in Speech Perception (PSP2005)

Senate House, London, UK
June 15-17, 2005

Learning Morse Code Results in Cortical Plastic Changes: Evidence from ERPs.

Maria Uther (1), Anu Kujala (2), Minna Huotilainen (2), Yury Shtyrov (3), Risto Näätänen (2)

(1) University of Portsmouth, UK; (2) University of Helsinki, Finland; (3) MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit

This study examined whether learning Morse code could result in cortical plasticity in processing of acoustic features, as indexed by the mismatch negativity (MMN) and P3a components of the auditory event-related potential (ERP). ERPs were recorded in 9 subjects who were learning Morse code. The subjects were presented with auditory stimuli at 3 different times relative to their training (before, during and after). These stimuli were presented within an auditory 'oddball' paradigm, with repetitive standard stimuli interspersed by one of 3 infrequent deviant stimuli (duration, frequency or ISI). The data showed that there was a significant increase in the P3a only for frequency deviants as a function of training. There were no differences in MMN amplitude as a function of training. These data are interpreted in terms of an attentional switching to unfamiliar changes that would not be expected whilst receiving Morse code.


Bibliographic reference.  Uther, Maria / Kujala, Anu / Huotilainen, Minna / Shtyrov, Yury / Näätänen, Risto (2005): "Learning morse code results in cortical plastic changes: evidence from ERPs.", In PSP2005, 147.