The early spatio-temporal correlates and task independence of cerebral voice processing studied with MEG

Capilla, A., Belin, P. and Gross, J. (2013) The early spatio-temporal correlates and task independence of cerebral voice processing studied with MEG. Cerebral Cortex, 23(6), pp. 1388-1395. (doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhs119)

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Functional magnetic resonance imaging studies have repeatedly provided evidence for temporal voice areas (TVAs) with particular sensitivity to human voices along bilateral mid/anterior superior temporal sulci and superior temporal gyri (STS/STG). In contrast, electrophysiological studies of the spatio-temporal correlates of cerebral voice processing have yielded contradictory results, finding the earliest correlates either at ∼300–400 ms, or earlier at ∼200 ms (“fronto-temporal positivity to voice”, FTPV). These contradictory results are likely the consequence of different stimulus sets and attentional demands. Here, we recorded magnetoencephalography activity while participants listened to diverse types of vocal and non-vocal sounds and performed different tasks varying in attentional demands. Our results confirm the existence of an early voice-preferential magnetic response (FTPVm, the magnetic counterpart of the FTPV) peaking at about 220 ms and distinguishing between vocal and non-vocal sounds as early as 150 ms after stimulus onset. The sources underlying the FTPVm were localized along bilateral mid-STS/STG, largely overlapping with the TVAs. The FTPVm was consistently observed across different stimulus subcategories, including speech and non-speech vocal sounds, and across different tasks. These results demonstrate the early, largely automatic recruitment of focal, voice-selective cerebral mechanisms with a time-course comparable to that of face processing.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Belin, Professor Pascal and Capilla, Dr Almudena and Gross, Professor Joachim
Authors: Capilla, A., Belin, P., and Gross, J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology
Journal Name:Cerebral Cortex
ISSN (Online):1460-2199

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
449881Social interaction - a cognitive-neurosciences approachSimon GarrodEconomic & Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/E020933/1INP - CENTRE FOR COGNITIVE NEUROIMAGING