Functional magnetic resonance imaging measure of automatic and controlled auditory processing

Teresa V MitchellAysenil Belger


Activity within fronto-striato-temporal regions during processing of unattended auditory deviant tones and an auditory target detection task was investigated using event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging. Activation within the middle frontal gyrus, inferior frontal gyrus, anterior cingulate gyrus, superior temporal gyrus, thalamus, and basal ganglia were analyzed for differences in activity patterns between the two stimulus conditions. Unattended deviant tones elicited robust activation in the superior temporal gyrus; by contrast, attended tones evoked stronger superior temporal gyrus activation and greater frontal and striatal activation. The results suggest that attention enhances neural activation evoked by auditory pitch deviance in auditory brain regions, possibly through top-down control from the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex involved in goal-directed selection and response generation.


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