Abstract encoding of auditory objects in cortical activity patterns

Giordano, B.L., McAdams, S., Zatorre, R.J., Kriegeskorte, N. and Belin, P. (2012) Abstract encoding of auditory objects in cortical activity patterns. Cerebral Cortex, 23(9), pp. 2025-2037. (doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhs162) (PMID:22802575)

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The human brain is thought to process auditory objects along a hierarchical temporal “what” stream that progressively abstracts object information from the low-level structure (e.g., loudness) as processing proceeds along the middle-to-anterior direction. Empirical demonstrations of abstract object encoding, independent of low-level structure, have relied on speech stimuli, and non-speech studies of object-category encoding (e.g., human vocalizations) often lack a systematic assessment of low-level information (e.g., vocalizations are highly harmonic). It is currently unknown whether abstract encoding constitutes a general functional principle that operates for auditory objects other than speech. We combined multivariate analyses of functional imaging data with an accurate analysis of the low-level acoustical information to examine the abstract encoding of non-speech categories. We observed abstract encoding of the living and human-action sound categories in the fine-grained spatial distribution of activity in the middle-to-posterior temporal cortex (e.g., planum temporale). Abstract encoding of auditory objects appears to extend to non-speech biological sounds and to operate in regions other than the anterior temporal lobe. Neural processes for the abstract encoding of auditory objects might have facilitated the emergence of speech categories in our ancestors.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Belin, Professor Pascal and Giordano, Dr Bruno
Authors: Giordano, B.L., McAdams, S., Zatorre, R.J., Kriegeskorte, N., and Belin, P.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:Cerebral Cortex
ISSN (Online):1460-2199
Published Online:16 July 2012

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
429751The perception of voice gender and identity - a combined behavioural, electrophysiological and neuroimaging approachPascal BelinBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)BB/E003958/1INP - CENTRE FOR COGNITIVE NEUROIMAGING
449881Social interaction - a cognitive-neurosciences approachSimon GarrodEconomic & Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/E020933/1INP - CENTRE FOR COGNITIVE NEUROIMAGING