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Cereb Cortex. 2005 Oct;15(10):1510-23. Epub 2005 Feb 2.

Dynamics of auditory-vocal interaction in monkey auditory cortex.

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  • 1Laboratory of Auditory Neurophysiology, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


Single neurons in the primate auditory cortex exhibit vocalization-related modulations (excitatory or inhibitory) during self-initiated vocal production. Previous studies have shown that these modulations of cortical activity are variable in individual neurons' responses to multiple instances of vocalization and diverse between different cortical neurons. The present study investigated dynamic patterns of vocalization-related modulations and demonstrated that much of the variability in cortical modulations was related to the acoustic structures of self-produced vocalization. We found that suppression of single unit activity during multi-phrased vocalizations was temporally specific in that it was maintained during each phrase, but was released between phrases. Furthermore, the degree of suppression or excitation was correlated to the mean energy and frequency of the produced vocalizations, accounting for much of the response variability between multiple instances of vocalization. Simultaneous recordings of pairs of neurons from a single electrode revealed that the modulations by self-produced vocalizations in nearby neurons were largely uncorrelated. Additionally, vocalization-induced suppression was found to be preferentially distributed to upper cortical layers. Finally, we showed that the summation of all auditory cortical activity during vocalization, including both single and multi-unit responses, was weakly excitatory, consistent with observations from studies of the human brain during speech.

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