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Neuroimage. 2001 Oct;14(4):802-16.

Distinct pathways involved in sound recognition and localization: a human fMRI study.

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Service de Radiodiagnostic et Radiologie Interventionnelle, CHUV, Lausanne, Switzerland.


Evidence from psychophysical studies in normal and brain-damaged subjects suggests that auditory information relevant to recognition and localization are processed by distinct neuronal populations. We report here on anatomical segregation of these populations. Brain activation associated with performance in sound identification and localization was investigated in 18 normal subjects using fMRI. Three conditions were used: (i) comparison of spatial stimuli simulated with interaural time differences; (ii) identification of environmental sounds; and (iii) rest. Conditions (i) and (ii) required acknowledgment of predefined targets by pressing a button. After coregistering, images were normalized and smoothed. Activation patterns were analyzed using SPM99 for individual subjects and for the whole group. Sound recognition and localization activated, as compared to rest, inferior colliculus, medial geniculate body, Heschl gyrus, and parts of the temporal, parietal, and frontal convexity bilaterally. The activation pattern on the fronto-temporo-parietal convexity differed in the two conditions. Middle temporal gyrus and precuneus bilaterally and the posterior part of left inferior frontal gyrus were more activated by recognition than by localization. Lower part of inferior parietal lobule and posterior parts of middle and inferior frontal gyri were more activated, bilaterally, by localization than by recognition. Regions selectively activated by sound recognition, but not those selectively activated by localization, were significantly larger in women. Passive listening paradigm revealed segregated pathways on superior temporal gyrus and inferior parietal lobule. Thus, anatomically distinct networks are involved in sound recognition and sound localization.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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