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Keywords:

  • auditory spatial processing;
  • gamma-band activity;
  • humans;
  • magnetoencephalography;
  • posterior parietal cortex

Abstract

In human magnetoencephalogram, we have found gamma-band activity (GBA), a putative measure of cortical network synchronization, during both bottom-up and top-down auditory processing. When sound positions had to be retained in short-term memory for 800 ms, enhanced GBA was detected over posterior parietal cortex, possibly reflecting the activation of higher sensory storage systems along the hypothesized auditory dorsal space processing stream. Additional prefrontal GBA increases suggested an involvement of central executive networks in stimulus maintenance. The present study assessed spatial echoic memory with the same stimuli but a shorter memorization interval of 200 ms. Statistical probability mapping revealed posterior parietal GBA increases at 80 Hz near the end of the memory phase and both gamma and theta enhancements in response to the test stimulus. In contrast to the previous short-term memory study, no prefrontal gamma or theta enhancements were detected. This suggests that spatial echoic memory is performed by networks along the putative auditory dorsal stream, without requiring an involvement of prefrontal executive regions.