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J Cogn Neurosci. 2001 Jan 1;13(1):1-7.

Hierarchical organization of the human auditory cortex revealed by functional magnetic resonance imaging.

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Georgetown Institute for Cognitive and Computational Sciences, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20007-2197, USA.


The concept of hierarchical processing--that the sensory world is broken down into basic features later integrated into more complex stimulus preferences--originated from investigations of the visual cortex. Recent studies of the auditory cortex in nonhuman primates revealed a comparable architecture, in which core areas, receiving direct input from the thalamus, in turn, provide input to a surrounding belt. Here functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) shows that the human auditory cortex displays a similar hierarchical organization: pure tones (PTs) activate primarily the core, whereas belt areas prefer complex sounds, such as narrow-band noise bursts.

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