Functional magnetic resonance imaging of a human auditory cortex area involved in foreground–background decomposition
Article first published online: 25 DEC 2001
European Journal of Neuroscience
Volume 10, Issue 2, pages 803–809, February 1998
How to Cite
Scheich, H., Baumgart, F., Gaschler-Markefski, B., Tegeler, C., Tempelmann, C., Heinze, H. J., Schindler, F. and Stiller, D. (1998), Functional magnetic resonance imaging of a human auditory cortex area involved in foreground–background decomposition. European Journal of Neuroscience, 10: 803–809. doi: 10.1046/j.1460-9568.1998.00086.x
- Issue published online: 25 DEC 2001
- Article first published online: 25 DEC 2001
- Received 14 August 1997, revised 14 October 1997, accepted 14 October 1997
- cocktail party effect;
- functional fields
Auditory foreground–background decomposition is a pattern recognition process which combines simultaneous and sequential grouping in complex sound sequences. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging with reduced scanner noise and stimulation through a new type of earphones, we investigated the possibility that this process activates topographically distinct areas of human auditory cortex. A basic matching-to-sample task with variable tones (sequential grouping) caused significant activity in three separate landmark-related territories on the supratemporal plane. A similar task in the presence of a strongly masking acoustic background pattern to challenge simultaneous grouping led to the distinction of the subterritory in which foreground signal-related or task-related signal properties were exclusively seen. In contrast to the remainder of territories the level of activity and the periodicity of the signal time-course was resistant to the masking influence of the background.
This suggests that auditory foreground–background decomposition involves a specialized non-primary auditory cortex field. Generally, the findings demonstrate functional parcellation of auditory cortex for which the evidence in humans, in contrast to other primates, is only indirect to date.