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Neuroimage. 2003 Aug;19(4):1417-26.

Functional anatomy of pitch memory--an fMRI study with sparse temporal sampling.

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Department of Neurology, Music and Neuroimaging Laboratory, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, 330 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


Auditory functional magnetic resonance imaging tasks are challenging since the MR scanner noise can interfere with the auditory stimulation. To avoid this interference a sparse temporal sampling method with a long repetition time (TR = 17 s) was used to explore the functional anatomy of pitch memory. Eighteen right-handed subjects listened to a sequence of sine-wave tones (4.6 s total duration) and were asked to make a decision (depending on a visual prompt) whether the last or second to last tone was the same or different as the first tone. An alternating button press condition served as a control. Sets of 24 axial slices were acquired with a variable delay time (between 0 and 6 s) between the end of the auditory stimulation and the MR acquisition. Individual imaging time points were combined into three clusters (0-2, 3-4, and 5-6 s after the end of the auditory stimulation) for the analysis. The analysis showed a dynamic activation pattern over time which involved the superior temporal gyrus, supramarginal gyrus, posterior dorsolateral frontal regions, superior parietal regions, and dorsolateral cerebellar regions bilaterally as well as the left inferior frontal gyrus. By regressing the performance score in the pitch memory task with task-related MR signal changes, the supramarginal gyrus (left>right) and the dorsolateral cerebellum (lobules V and VI, left>right) were significantly correlated with good task performance. The SMG and the dorsolateral cerebellum may play a critical role in short-term storage of pitch information and the continuous pitch discrimination necessary for performing this pitch memory task.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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