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Functional maps of human auditory cortex: effects of acoustic features and attention.

Woods DL, Stecker GC, Rinne T, Herron TJ, Cate AD, Yund EW, Liao I, Kang X - PLoS ONE (2009)

Bottom Line: Sensory responses in both medial and lateral auditory cortex decreased in magnitude throughout stimulus blocks.The results are consistent with the view that medial regions of human auditory cortex contain tonotopically organized core and belt fields that map the basic acoustic features of sounds while surrounding higher-order parabelt regions are tuned to more abstract stimulus attributes.Intermodal selective attention enhances processing in neuronal populations that are partially distinct from those activated by unattended stimuli.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Human Cognitive Neurophysiology Laboratory, VANCHCS, Martinez, California, United States of America. dlwoods@ucdavis.edu

ABSTRACT

Background: While human auditory cortex is known to contain tonotopically organized auditory cortical fields (ACFs), little is known about how processing in these fields is modulated by other acoustic features or by attention.

Methodology/principal findings: We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and population-based cortical surface analysis to characterize the tonotopic organization of human auditory cortex and analyze the influence of tone intensity, ear of delivery, scanner background noise, and intermodal selective attention on auditory cortex activations. Medial auditory cortex surrounding Heschl's gyrus showed large sensory (unattended) activations with two mirror-symmetric tonotopic fields similar to those observed in non-human primates. Sensory responses in medial regions had symmetrical distributions with respect to the left and right hemispheres, were enlarged for tones of increased intensity, and were enhanced when sparse image acquisition reduced scanner acoustic noise. Spatial distribution analysis suggested that changes in tone intensity shifted activation within isofrequency bands. Activations to monaural tones were enhanced over the hemisphere contralateral to stimulation, where they produced activations similar to those produced by binaural sounds. Lateral regions of auditory cortex showed small sensory responses that were larger in the right than left hemisphere, lacked tonotopic organization, and were uninfluenced by acoustic parameters. Sensory responses in both medial and lateral auditory cortex decreased in magnitude throughout stimulus blocks. Attention-related modulations (ARMs) were larger in lateral than medial regions of auditory cortex and appeared to arise primarily in belt and parabelt auditory fields. ARMs lacked tonotopic organization, were unaffected by acoustic parameters, and had distributions that were distinct from those of sensory responses. Unlike the gradual adaptation seen for sensory responses, ARMs increased in amplitude throughout stimulus blocks.

Conclusions/significance: The results are consistent with the view that medial regions of human auditory cortex contain tonotopically organized core and belt fields that map the basic acoustic features of sounds while surrounding higher-order parabelt regions are tuned to more abstract stimulus attributes. Intermodal selective attention enhances processing in neuronal populations that are partially distinct from those activated by unattended stimuli.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Effects of attention.The attentional lability index (ALI) for areas showing significant attention effects. Data were averaged over sound parameters, hemispheres, subjects, and image acquisition protocols. Activations in blue regions in the STS (lower right) were enhanced during visual attention. HG = Heschl's Gyrus. z-score threshold = 4.0.
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pone-0005183-g011: Effects of attention.The attentional lability index (ALI) for areas showing significant attention effects. Data were averaged over sound parameters, hemispheres, subjects, and image acquisition protocols. Activations in blue regions in the STS (lower right) were enhanced during visual attention. HG = Heschl's Gyrus. z-score threshold = 4.0.

Mentions: There were a significant differences in activation magnitudes in medial auditory regions in different auditory attention conditions (F(2,16) = 43.61, p<0.0001): activations were larger during the two auditory attention conditions (bimodal and unimodal, mean 0.32% and 0.34%) than during visual attention (0.25%). We estimated the relative magnitude of attentional effects vs. sensory responses using an attentional lability index (ALI), defined as the ARM amplitude divided by the summed amplitude of ARMs + SDAs. Thus, the ALI could range from 0.0 (for no attentional enhancement) to 1.0 (for regions activated exclusively by attended stimuli). The ALI measure over the medial grid averaged 0.24. Figure 11 shows the distribution of ALIs over those regions that showed significant attentional modulation. Significant attentional modulation was seen in lateral regions of tonotopic fields H1, L1, and H2 as well as anterior to HG. ALI magnitudes increased further in the lateral grid (see below).


Functional maps of human auditory cortex: effects of acoustic features and attention.

Woods DL, Stecker GC, Rinne T, Herron TJ, Cate AD, Yund EW, Liao I, Kang X - PLoS ONE (2009)

Effects of attention.The attentional lability index (ALI) for areas showing significant attention effects. Data were averaged over sound parameters, hemispheres, subjects, and image acquisition protocols. Activations in blue regions in the STS (lower right) were enhanced during visual attention. HG = Heschl's Gyrus. z-score threshold = 4.0.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2664477&req=5

pone-0005183-g011: Effects of attention.The attentional lability index (ALI) for areas showing significant attention effects. Data were averaged over sound parameters, hemispheres, subjects, and image acquisition protocols. Activations in blue regions in the STS (lower right) were enhanced during visual attention. HG = Heschl's Gyrus. z-score threshold = 4.0.
Mentions: There were a significant differences in activation magnitudes in medial auditory regions in different auditory attention conditions (F(2,16) = 43.61, p<0.0001): activations were larger during the two auditory attention conditions (bimodal and unimodal, mean 0.32% and 0.34%) than during visual attention (0.25%). We estimated the relative magnitude of attentional effects vs. sensory responses using an attentional lability index (ALI), defined as the ARM amplitude divided by the summed amplitude of ARMs + SDAs. Thus, the ALI could range from 0.0 (for no attentional enhancement) to 1.0 (for regions activated exclusively by attended stimuli). The ALI measure over the medial grid averaged 0.24. Figure 11 shows the distribution of ALIs over those regions that showed significant attentional modulation. Significant attentional modulation was seen in lateral regions of tonotopic fields H1, L1, and H2 as well as anterior to HG. ALI magnitudes increased further in the lateral grid (see below).

Bottom Line: Sensory responses in both medial and lateral auditory cortex decreased in magnitude throughout stimulus blocks.The results are consistent with the view that medial regions of human auditory cortex contain tonotopically organized core and belt fields that map the basic acoustic features of sounds while surrounding higher-order parabelt regions are tuned to more abstract stimulus attributes.Intermodal selective attention enhances processing in neuronal populations that are partially distinct from those activated by unattended stimuli.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Human Cognitive Neurophysiology Laboratory, VANCHCS, Martinez, California, United States of America. dlwoods@ucdavis.edu

ABSTRACT

Background: While human auditory cortex is known to contain tonotopically organized auditory cortical fields (ACFs), little is known about how processing in these fields is modulated by other acoustic features or by attention.

Methodology/principal findings: We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and population-based cortical surface analysis to characterize the tonotopic organization of human auditory cortex and analyze the influence of tone intensity, ear of delivery, scanner background noise, and intermodal selective attention on auditory cortex activations. Medial auditory cortex surrounding Heschl's gyrus showed large sensory (unattended) activations with two mirror-symmetric tonotopic fields similar to those observed in non-human primates. Sensory responses in medial regions had symmetrical distributions with respect to the left and right hemispheres, were enlarged for tones of increased intensity, and were enhanced when sparse image acquisition reduced scanner acoustic noise. Spatial distribution analysis suggested that changes in tone intensity shifted activation within isofrequency bands. Activations to monaural tones were enhanced over the hemisphere contralateral to stimulation, where they produced activations similar to those produced by binaural sounds. Lateral regions of auditory cortex showed small sensory responses that were larger in the right than left hemisphere, lacked tonotopic organization, and were uninfluenced by acoustic parameters. Sensory responses in both medial and lateral auditory cortex decreased in magnitude throughout stimulus blocks. Attention-related modulations (ARMs) were larger in lateral than medial regions of auditory cortex and appeared to arise primarily in belt and parabelt auditory fields. ARMs lacked tonotopic organization, were unaffected by acoustic parameters, and had distributions that were distinct from those of sensory responses. Unlike the gradual adaptation seen for sensory responses, ARMs increased in amplitude throughout stimulus blocks.

Conclusions/significance: The results are consistent with the view that medial regions of human auditory cortex contain tonotopically organized core and belt fields that map the basic acoustic features of sounds while surrounding higher-order parabelt regions are tuned to more abstract stimulus attributes. Intermodal selective attention enhances processing in neuronal populations that are partially distinct from those activated by unattended stimuli.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus