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Neuropsychologia. 1999 Mar;37(3):315-31.

The role of auditory cortex in retention of rhythmic patterns as studied in patients with temporal lobe removals including Heschl's gyrus.

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  • 1Neuropsychology and Cognitive Neuroscience Unit, Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, McGill University, Quebec, Canada.


This experiment examined the participation of the auditory cortex of the temporal lobe in the perception and retention of rhythmic patterns. Four patient groups were tested on a paradigm contrasting reproduction of auditory and visual rhythms: those with right or left anterior temporal lobe removals which included Heschl's gyrus (HG), the region of primary auditory cortex (RT-A and LT-A); and patients with right or left anterior temporal lobe removals which did not include HG (RT-a and LT-a). Estimation of lesion extent in HG using an MRI-based probabilistic map indicated that, in the majority of subjects, the lesion was confined to the anterior secondary auditory cortex located on the anterior-lateral extent of HG. On the rhythm reproduction task, RT-A patients were impaired in retention of auditory but not visual rhythms, particularly when accurate reproduction of stimulus durations was required. In contrast, LT-A patients as well as both RT-a and LT-a patients were relatively unimpaired on this task. None of the patient groups was impaired in the ability to make an adequate motor response. Further, they were unimpaired when using a dichotomous response mode, indicating that they were able to adequately differentiate the stimulus durations and, when given an alternative method of encoding, to retain them. Taken together, these results point to a specific role for the right anterior secondary auditory cortex in the retention of a precise analogue representation of auditory tonal patterns.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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