Tobias Overath

Tobias Overath

Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University College London (United Kingdom) 2009

  • M.S., Humboldt University of Berlin (Germany) 2004


Research in our lab investigates how sound is processed in the human brain. More specifically, we study the acoustic building blocks that must be assembled in complex listening situations, such as when we engage in a conversation or listen to a symphony. One branch of our research program centers on the neural representation of fundamental acoustic parameters, e.g. pitch and timbre, and the neural mechanisms for detecting meaningful acoustic changes of such parameters within an auditory scene. A second branch of our research investigates auditory perception at a linguistic level and addresses the transformation from speech-specific acoustic analysis to speech-specific linguistic analysis, with an emphasis on temporal integration constants. We employ a combination of behavioral and neuroimaging methods (fMRI, EEG) to elucidate the underlying neural processes in human auditory cortex with high spatial and temporal precision.


Sound processing in the human brain

Kim, Seung-Goo, et al. “Modulation change detection in human auditory cortex: Evidence for asymmetric, non-linear edge detection.The European Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 52, no. 2, July 2020, pp. 2889–904. Epmc, doi:10.1111/ejn.14707. Full Text

Kikuchi, Yukiko, et al. “The distribution and nature of responses to broadband sounds associated with pitch in the macaque auditory cortex.Cortex; a Journal Devoted to the Study of the Nervous System and Behavior, vol. 120, Nov. 2019, pp. 340–52. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2019.07.005. Full Text

Overath, Tobias, and Jackson C. Lee. “The neural processing of phonemes is shaped by linguistic analysis.” Proceedings of the International Symposium on Auditory and Audiological Research, edited by Sébastien Santurette et al., vol. 6, Nov. 2018, pp. 107–16. Open Access Copy

Overath, Tobias, et al. “The cortical analysis of speech-specific temporal structure revealed by responses to sound quilts.Nature Neuroscience, vol. 18, no. 6, June 2015, pp. 903–11. Epmc, doi:10.1038/nn.4021. Full Text

Overath, Tobias, et al. “Sensitivity to temporal modulation rate and spectral bandwidth in the human auditory system: fMRI evidence.Journal of Neurophysiology, vol. 107, no. 8, Apr. 2012, pp. 2042–56. Epmc, doi:10.1152/jn.00308.2011. Full Text

Sedley, William, et al. “Gamma band pitch responses in human auditory cortex measured with magnetoencephalography.Neuroimage, vol. 59, no. 2, Jan. 2012, pp. 1904–11. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.08.098. Full Text

Overath, Tobias, et al. “Cortical mechanisms for the segregation and representation of acoustic textures.The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience, vol. 30, no. 6, Feb. 2010, pp. 2070–76. Epmc, doi:10.1523/jneurosci.5378-09.2010. Full Text

Overath, Tobias, et al. “Encoding of spectral correlation over time in auditory cortex.The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience, vol. 28, no. 49, Dec. 2008, pp. 13268–73. Epmc, doi:10.1523/jneurosci.4596-08.2008. Full Text

Stewart, Lauren, et al. “fMRI evidence for a cortical hierarchy of pitch pattern processing.Plos One, vol. 3, no. 1, Jan. 2008, p. e1470. Epmc, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001470. Full Text

Overath, Tobias, et al. “An information theoretic characterisation of auditory encoding.Plos Biology, vol. 5, no. 11, Oct. 2007, p. e288. Epmc, doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0050288. Full Text


Sedley, W., et al. “BRAIN NETWORK ACTIVITY SUBSERVING TINNITUS AND NORMAL PERCEPTION.” European Journal of Neurology, vol. 18, WILEY-BLACKWELL, 2011, pp. 296–296.

Selected Grants