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Keywords:

  • auditory motion;
  • planum temporale;
  • motion direction;
  • fMRI;
  • multivoxel pattern analysis;
  • audiovisual;
  • SVM

Abstract

The aim of this functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study was to identify human brain areas that are sensitive to the direction of auditory motion. Such directional sensitivity was assessed in a hypothesis-free manner by analyzing fMRI response patterns across the entire brain volume using a spherical-searchlight approach. In addition, we assessed directional sensitivity in three predefined brain areas that have been associated with auditory motion perception in previous neuroimaging studies. These were the primary auditory cortex, the planum temporale and the visual motion complex (hMT/V5+). Our whole-brain analysis revealed that the direction of sound-source movement could be decoded from fMRI response patterns in the right auditory cortex and in a high-level visual area located in the right lateral occipital cortex. Our region-of-interest-based analysis showed that the decoding of the direction of auditory motion was most reliable with activation patterns of the left and right planum temporale. Auditory motion direction could not be decoded from activation patterns in hMT/V5+. These findings provide further evidence for the planum temporale playing a central role in supporting auditory motion perception. In addition, our findings suggest a cross-modal transfer of directional information to high-level visual cortex in healthy humans. Hum Brain Mapp, 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.