Spatial location is accurately tracked by human auditory sensory memory: Evidence from the mismatch negativity

Leon Y. Deouell*, Ariel Parnes, Natasha Pickard, Robert T. Knight

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations

Abstract

The nature of spatial representation in human auditory cortex remains elusive. In particular, although humans can discriminate the locations of sounds as close as 1-10 degrees apart, such resolution has not been shown in auditory cortex of humans or animals. We used the mismatch negativity (MMN) event related brain potential to measure the neural response to spatial change in humans in narrow 10 degree spatial steps. Twelve participants were tested using a dense array EEG setup while watching a silent movie and ignoring the sounds. The MMN was reliably elicited by infrequent changes of spatial location of sounds in free field. The MMN amplitude was linearly related to the degree of spatial change with a resolution of at least 10 degrees. These electrophysiological responses occurred within a window of 100-200 milliseconds from stimulus onset, and were localized to the posterior superior temporal gyrus. We conclude that azimuthal spatial displacement is rapidly, accurately and automatically represented in auditory sensory memory in humans, at the level of the auditory cortex.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1488-1494
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Volume24
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2006

Keywords

  • Event-related potentials
  • Mismatch negativity (MMN)
  • Planum temporale
  • Sound localization
  • Superior temporal gyrus

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