Automatic domain-general processing of sound source identity in the left posterior middle frontal gyrus

Abstract : Identifying sound sources is fundamental to developing a stable representation of the environment in the face of variable auditory information. The cortical processes underlying this ability have received little attention. In two fMRI experiments, we investigated passive adaptation to (Exp. 1) and explicit discrimination of (Exp. 2) source identities for different categories of auditory objects (voices, musical instruments, environmental sounds). All cortical effects of source identity were independent of high-level category information, and were accounted for by sound-to-sound differences in low-level structure (e.g., loudness). A conjunction analysis revealed that the left posterior middle frontal gyrus (pMFG) adapted to identity repetitions during both passive listening and active discrimination tasks. These results indicate that the comparison of sound source identities in a stream of auditory stimulation recruits the pMFG in a domain-general way, i.e., independent of the sound category, based on information contained in the low-level acoustical structure. pMFG recruitment during both passive listening and explicit identity comparison tasks also suggests its automatic engagement in sound source identity processing.
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Bruno Giordano, Cyril Pernet, Ian Charest, Guylaine Belizaire, Robert Zatorre, et al.. Automatic domain-general processing of sound source identity in the left posterior middle frontal gyrus. Cortex, Elsevier, 2014, 58, pp.170-185. ⟨10.1016/j.cortex.2014.06.005⟩. ⟨hal-01997401⟩

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