Equipe Audition

Research center

45 rue d’Ulm
75230 Paris
Marc Mézard


Ecole Normale Supérieure
ED 3C - 158
Université Pierre et Marie Curie


Laboratoire des Systèmes Perceptifs
UMR 8248
LabEx Institut d’Etude de la Cognition, IdEx Paris Sciences et Lettres

Mots clefs

memory, learning, plasticity, human psychophysics, physiology in behaving ferrets
Available to host a PhD student


Agus, T.R., Thorpe, S.J., & Pressnitzer, D. (2010). Rapid formation of auditory memories: Insights from noise. Neuron. 66, 610-618.

Andrillon, T., Pressnitzer, D., Léger, D., & Kouider, S. (2017).Formation and suppression of acoustic memories in human sleep. NatureCommunications, 8: 179.

Boubenec Y, Lawlor J, Górska U, Shamma S & Englitz B (2017). Detecting changes in dynamic and complex acoustic scenes. eLife 2017;10.7554/eLife.24910.

Chambers, C., Akram, S. Adam, V., Pelofi, C., Sahani, M., Shamma, S., & Pressnitzer, D. (2017). Prior context in audition informs binding and shapes simple features. Nature Communications, 8:15027.

Andrillon, T., Kouider, S., Agus, T., & Pressnitzer, D. (2015).Perceptual learning of acoustic noise generates memory-evoked potentials. Current Biology, 25: 2823-2829.


Fields of research

Neurophysiology / systems neuroscience

Research Theme

The Audition team is investigating the mechanisms of auditory perception, at the interface between low-level processing of acoustic features and high-level cognitive processes. We use a wide range of tools in order to address this research topic, from single unit recordings in behaving animals to advanced psychophysics and EEG in human subjects. Current projects in the lab revolve around three major threads:

o past studies in the group discovered a remarkably potent and rapid form of implicit memory for complex sounds. This effect is long-lasting and is easily measurable with our psychophysical paradigm, in humans or animals. We are now tracking the neural substrates of this implicit memory mechanism using EEG and fMRI in human subjects, concurrently with electrophysiological and imaging recordings in the awake ferrets.

o learning an auditory-based task elicits large plastic changes in the organization of the auditory cortex. More specifically, top-down modulations instruct and adapt auditory processing to task requirements. We are currently investigating the time-course of the learning-related changes. Using large-scale imaging technique, we want to track how different brain areas are activated during the course of learning, and how these different brain structures are specifically at play during task engagement.

o natural sounds such as wind, fire, rain, are often characterized by the statistical occurrence of their constituents. This implies that listeners are somehow internally estimating sound statistics in order to detect changes in these sounds. We want to address the neural basis of such statistical decision-making. More specifically we aim at characterizing the extraction of relevant sensory information performed between sensory cortices and frontal-parietal areas, and decipher how decision are formed from the available sensory evidence.

Lab rotation

Functional role of the ferret prefrontal cortex in attention-demanding auditory tasks

Chercheur responsable: 



2 April 2018 - 29 June 2018

Date limite de candidature: 

29 June 2018


~ April-June 2018


In this project, we propose to test the two following hypothesis:(i) Does the prefrontal cortex (PFC) have a causal impact on animal performance of attention-demanding auditory tasks, just as it has been shown in the visual domain?(ii) Does the role of prefrontal cortex change with increasing task difficulty, given that attentional effects on behavior and neural activity are strongest in challenging task conditions?To address these research questions, we will inactivate the PFC of trained ferrets during behavior on auditory tasks.  This will enable us to determine whether ferrets are in any way reliant for PFC activity in order to succeed in the task. Concurrent electrophysiological recordings will be performed to confirm the PFC inactivation and its effect on auditory cortex.


Ecole Normale Supérieure - Laboratoire des Systèmes Perceptifs - 29, rue d’Ulm 75005 Paris - +33 1 44 32 26 78 - boubenec@ens.fr