The analysis of complex sound features is important for the perception of environmental sounds, speech and music, and may be abnormal in disorders such as specific language impairment in children, and in common adult lesions including stroke and multiple sclerosis. This work addresses the problem of how the human auditory system detects features in complex sound, and uses those features to perceive the auditory world. The work has been carried out using two independent means of testing the same hypotheses; detailed psychophysical studies of neurological patients with central lesions, and functional imaging using positron emission tomography and functional magnetic resonance imaging of normal subjects. The psychophysical and imaging studies have both examined which brain areas are concerned with the analysis of auditory space, and which are concerned with the analysis of timing information in the auditory system. This differs from many previous human auditory studies, which have concentrated on the analysis of sound frequency. The combined lesion and functional imaging approach has demonstrated analysis of the spatial property of sound movement within the right parietal lobe. The timing work has confirmed that the primary auditory cortex is active as a function of the time structure of sound, and therefore not only concerned with frequency representation of sounds. (+info)
Desynchronizing responses to correlated noise: A mechanism for binaural masking level differences at the inferior colliculus.
We examined the adequacy of decorrelation of the responses to dichotic noise as an explanation for the binaural masking level difference (BMLD). The responses of 48 low-frequency neurons in the inferior colliculus of anesthetized guinea pigs were recorded to binaurally presented noise with various degrees of interaural correlation and to interaurally correlated noise in the presence of 500-Hz tones in either zero or pi interaural phase. In response to fully correlated noise, neurons' responses were modulated with interaural delay, showing quasiperiodic noise delay functions (NDFs) with a central peak and side peaks, separated by intervals roughly equivalent to the period of the neuron's best frequency. For noise with zero interaural correlation (independent noises presented to each ear), neurons were insensitive to the interaural delay. Their NDFs were unmodulated, with the majority showing a level of activity approximately equal to the mean of the peaks and troughs of the NDF obtained with fully correlated noise. Partial decorrelation of the noise resulted in NDFs that were, in general, intermediate between the fully correlated and fully decorrelated noise. Presenting 500-Hz tones simultaneously with fully correlated noise also had the effect of demodulating the NDFs. In the case of tones with zero interaural phase, this demodulation appeared to be a saturation process, raising the discharge at all noise delays to that at the largest peak in the NDF. In the majority of neurons, presenting the tones in pi phase had a similar effect on the NDFs to decorrelating the noise; the response was demodulated toward the mean of the peaks and troughs of the NDF. Thus the effect of added tones on the responses of delay-sensitive inferior colliculus neurons to noise could be accounted for by a desynchronizing effect. This result is entirely consistent with cross-correlation models of the BMLD. However, in some neurons, the effects of an added tone on the NDF appeared more extreme than the effect of decorrelating the noise, suggesting the possibility of additional inhibitory influences. (+info)
Corticofugal amplification of facilitative auditory responses of subcortical combination-sensitive neurons in the mustached bat.
Recent studies on the bat's auditory system indicate that the corticofugal system mediates a highly focused positive feedback to physiologically "matched" subcortical neurons, and widespread lateral inhibition to physiologically "unmatched" subcortical neurons, to adjust and improve information processing. These findings have solved the controversy in physiological data, accumulated since 1962, of corticofugal effects on subcortical auditory neurons: inhibitory, excitatory, or both (an inhibitory effect is much more frequent than an excitatory effect). In the mustached bat, Pteronotus parnellii parnellii, the inferior colliculus, medial geniculate body, and auditory cortex each have "FM-FM" neurons, which are "combination-sensitive" and are tuned to specific time delays (echo delays) of echo FM components from the FM components of an emitted biosonar pulse. FM-FM neurons are more complex in response properties than cortical neurons which primarily respond to single tones. In the present study, we found that inactivation of the entire FM-FM area in the cortex, including neurons both physiologically matched and unmatched with subcortical FM-FM neurons, on the average reduced the facilitative responses to paired FM sounds by 82% for thalamic FM-FM neurons and by 66% for collicular FM-FM neurons. The corticofugal influence on the facilitative responses of subcortical combination-sensitive neurons is much larger than that on the excitatory responses of subcortical neurons primarily responding to single tones. Therefore we propose the hypothesis that, in general, the processing of complex sounds by combination-sensitive neurons more heavily depends on the corticofugal system than that by single-tone sensitive neurons. (+info)
The cerebral haemodynamics of music perception. A transcranial Doppler sonography study.
The perception of music has been investigated by several neurophysiological and neuroimaging methods. Results from these studies suggest a right hemisphere dominance for non-musicians and a possible left hemisphere dominance for musicians. However, inconsistent results have been obtained, and not all variables have been controlled by the different methods. We performed a study with functional transcranial Doppler sonography (fTCD) of the middle cerebral artery to evaluate changes in cerebral blood flow velocity (CBFV) during different periods of music perception. Twenty-four healthy right-handed subjects were enrolled and examined during rest and during listening to periods of music with predominant language, rhythm and harmony content. The gender, musical experience and mode of listening of the subjects were chosen as independent factors; the type of music was included as the variable in repeated measurements. We observed a significant increase of CBFV in the right hemisphere in non-musicians during harmony perception but not during rhythm perception; this effect was more pronounced in females. Language perception was lateralized to the left hemisphere in all subject groups. Musicians showed increased CBFV values in the left hemisphere which were independent of the type of stimulus, and background listeners showed increased CBFV values during harmony perception in the right hemisphere which were independent of their musical experience. The time taken to reach the peak of CBFV was significantly longer in non-musicians when compared with musicians during rhythm and harmony perception. Pulse rates were significantly decreased in non-musicians during harmony perception, probably due to a specific relaxation effect in this subgroup. The resistance index did not show any significant differences, suggesting only regional changes of small resistance vessels but not of large arteries. Our fTCD study confirms previous findings of right hemisphere lateralization for harmony perception in non-musicians. In addition, we showed that this effect is more pronounced in female subjects and in background listeners and that the lateralization is delayed in non-musicians compared with musicians for the perception of rhythm and harmony stimuli. Our data suggest that musicians and non-musicians have different strategies to lateralize musical stimuli, with a delayed but marked right hemisphere lateralization during harmony perception in non-musicians and an attentive mode of listening contributing to a left hemisphere lateralization in musicians. (+info)
The superior olivary nucleus and its influence on nucleus laminaris: a source of inhibitory feedback for coincidence detection in the avian auditory brainstem.
Located in the ventrolateral region of the avian brainstem, the superior olivary nucleus (SON) receives inputs from nucleus angularis (NA) and nucleus laminaris (NL) and projects back to NA, NL, and nucleus magnocellularis (NM). The reciprocal connections between the SON and NL are of particular interest because they constitute a feedback circuit for coincidence detection. In the present study, the chick SON was investigated. In vivo tracing studies show that the SON projects predominantly to the ipsilateral NM, NL, and NA. In vitro whole-cell recording reveals single-cell morphology, firing properties, and postsynaptic responses. SON neurons are morphologically and physiologically suited for temporal integration; their firing patterns do not reflect the temporal structure of their excitatory inputs. Of most interest, direct stimulation of the SON evokes long-lasting inhibition in NL neurons. The inhibition blocks both intrinsic spike generation and orthodromically evoked activity in NL neurons and can be eliminated by bicuculline methiodide, a potent antagonist for GABAA receptor-mediated neurotransmission. These results strongly suggest that the SON provides GABAergic inhibitory feedback to laminaris neurons. We discuss a mechanism whereby SON-evoked GABAergic inhibition can influence the coding of interaural time differences for sound localization in the avian auditory brainstem. (+info)
Auditory perception: does practice make perfect?
Recent studies have shown that adult humans can learn to localize sounds relatively accurately when provided with altered localization cues. These experiments provide further evidence for experience-dependent plasticity in the mature brain. (+info)
Aphasic disorder in patients with closed head injury.
Quantitative assessment of 50 patients with closed head injury disclosed that anomic errors and word finding difficulty were prominent sequelae as nearly half of the series had defective scores on tests of naming and/or word association. Aphasic disturbance was associated with severity of brain injury as reflected by prolonged coma and injury of the brain stem. (+info)
Neural correlates of exposure to traumatic pictures and sound in Vietnam combat veterans with and without posttraumatic stress disorder: a positron emission tomography study.
BACKGROUND: Patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) show a reliable increase in PTSD symptoms and physiological reactivity following exposure to traumatic pictures and sounds. In this study neural correlates of exposure to traumatic pictures and sounds were measured in PTSD. METHODS: Positron emission tomography and H2[15O] were used to measure cerebral blood flow during exposure to combat-related and neutral pictures and sounds in Vietnam combat veterans with and without PTSD. RESULTS: Exposure to traumatic material in PTSD (but not non-PTSD) subjects resulted in a decrease in blood flow in medial prefrontal cortex (area 25), an area postulated to play a role in emotion through inhibition of amygdala responsiveness. Non-PTSD subjects activated anterior cingulate (area 24) to a greater degree than PTSD patients. There were also differences in cerebral blood flow response in areas involved in memory and visuospatial processing (and by extension response to threat), including posterior cingulate (area 23), precentral (motor) and inferior parietal cortex, and lingual gyrus. There was a pattern of increases in PTSD and decreases in non-PTSD subjects in these areas. CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that functional alternations in specific cortical and subcortical brain areas involved in memory, visuospatial processing, and emotion underlie the symptoms of patients with PTSD. (+info)