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Pitch processing sites in the human auditory brain

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


<mark>Journal publication date</mark>03/2009
<mark>Journal</mark>Cerebral Cortex
Issue number3
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)576-585
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Lateral Heschl's gyrus (HG), a subdivision of the human auditory cortex, is commonly believed to represent a general "pitch center," responding selectively to the pitch of sounds, irrespective of their spectral characteristics. However, most neuroimaging investigations have used only one specialized pitch-evoking stimulus: iterated-ripple noise (IRN). The present study used a novel experimental design in which a range of different pitch-evoking stimuli were presented to the same listeners. Pitch sites were identified by searching for voxels that responded well to the range of pitch-evoking stimuli. The first result suggested that parts of the planum temporale are more relevant for pitch processing than lateral HG. In some listeners, pitch responses occurred elsewhere, such as the temporo-parieto-occipital junction or prefrontal cortex. The second result demonstrated a different pattern of response to the IRN and raises the possibility that features of IRN unrelated to pitch might contribute to the earlier results. In conclusion, it seems premature to assign special status to lateral HG solely on the basis of neuroactivation patterns. Further work should consider the functional roles of these multiple pitch processing sites within the proposed network.