Dana L. Strait

Learn More
Musicians have a variety of perceptual and cortical specializations compared to non-musicians. Recent studies have shown that potentials evoked from primarily brainstem structures are enhanced in musicians, compared to non-musicians. Specifically, musicians have more robust representations of pitch periodicity and faster neural timing to sound onset when(More)
Even in the quietest of rooms, our senses are perpetually inundated by a barrage of sounds, requiring the auditory system to adapt to a variety of listening conditions in order to extract signals of interest (e.g., one speaker's voice amidst others). Brain networks that promote selective attention are thought to sharpen the neural encoding of a target(More)
A growing body of research suggests that cognitive functions, such as attention and memory, drive perception by tuning sensory mechanisms to relevant acoustic features. Long-term musical experience also modulates lower-level auditory function, although the mechanisms by which this occurs remain uncertain. In order to tease apart the mechanisms that drive(More)
Much of our daily communication occurs in the presence of background noise, compromising our ability to hear. While understanding speech in noise is a challenge for everyone, it becomes increasingly difficult as we age. Although aging is generally accompanied by hearing loss, this perceptual decline cannot fully account for the difficulties experienced by(More)
Human hearing depends on a combination of cognitive and sensory processes that function by means of an interactive circuitry of bottom-up and top-down neural pathways, extending from the cochlea to the cortex and back again. Given that similar neural pathways are recruited to process sounds related to both music and language, it is not surprising that the(More)
Neural sensitivity to acoustic regularities supports fundamental human behaviors such as hearing in noise and reading. Although the failure to encode acoustic regularities in ongoing speech has been associated with language and literacy deficits, how auditory expertise, such as the expertise that is associated with musical skill, relates to the brainstem(More)
Musicians benefit from real-life advantages, such as a greater ability to hear speech in noise and to remember sounds, although the biological mechanisms driving such advantages remain undetermined. Furthermore, the extent to which these advantages are a consequence of musical training or innate characteristics that predispose a given individual to pursue(More)
Experience-dependent characteristics of auditory function, especially with regard to speech-evoked auditory neurophysiology, have garnered increasing attention in recent years. This interest stems from both pragmatic and theoretical concerns as it bears implications for the prevention and remediation of language-based learning impairment in addition to(More)
Musicians exhibit enhanced perception of emotion in speech, although the biological foundations for this advantage remain unconfirmed. In order to gain a better understanding for the influences of musical experience on neural processing of emotionally salient sounds, we recorded brainstem potentials to affective human vocal sounds. Musicians showed enhanced(More)
For children, learning often occurs in the presence of background noise. As such, there is growing desire to improve a child's access to a target signal in noise. Given adult musicians' perceptual and neural speech-in-noise enhancements, we asked whether similar effects are present in musically-trained children. We assessed the perception and subcortical(More)