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Cortical Pathways for Speech and Music

By Bbenzon @bbenzon

Neuron. 2015 Dec 16;88(6):1281-96. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.11.035.

Distinct Cortical Pathways for Music and Speech Revealed by Hypothesis-Free Voxel Decomposition.

Norman-Haignere SKanwisher NGMcDermott JH


The organization of human auditory cortex remains unresolved, due in part to the small stimulus sets common to fMRI studies and the overlap of neural populations within voxels. To address these challenges, we measured fMRI responses to 165 natural sounds and inferred canonical response profiles ("components") whose weighted combinations explained voxel responses throughout auditory cortex. This analysis revealed six components, each with interpretable response characteristics despite being unconstrained by prior functional hypotheses. Four components embodied selectivity for particular acoustic features (frequency, spectrotemporal modulation, pitch). Two others exhibited pronounced selectivity for music and speech, respectively, and were not explainable by standard acoustic features. Anatomically, music and speech selectivity concentrated in distinct regions of non-primary auditory cortex. However, music selectivity was weak in raw voxel responses, and its detection required a decomposition method. Voxel decomposition identifies primary dimensions of response variation across natural sounds, revealing distinct cortical pathways for music and speech.  Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
[PubMed - in process] 
 [Available on 2016-12-16]

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