EEG-Based Intersubject Correlations Reflect Selective Attention in a Competing Speaker Scenario
Several solutions have been proposed to study the relationship between ongoing brain activity and natural sensory stimuli, such as running speech. Computing the intersubject correlation (ISC) has been proposed as one possible approach. Previous evidence suggests that ISCs between the participants' electroencephalogram (EEG) may be modulated by attention. The current study addressed this question in a competing-speaker paradigm, where participants (N = 41) had to attend to one of two concurrently presented speech streams. ISCs between participants' EEG were higher for participants attending to the same story compared to participants attending to different stories. Furthermore, we found that ISCs between individual and group data predicted whether an individual attended to the left or right speech stream. Interestingly, the magnitude of the shared neural response with others attending to the same story was related to the individual neural representation of the attended and ignored speech envelope. Overall, our findings indicate that ISC differences reflect the magnitude of selective attentional engagement to speech.