User Manual Privacy Policy Disclaimer Contact us
  Advanced SearchBrowse


  Encoding properties of neurons sensitive to species-specific vocalizations in the anterior temporal lobe of primates

Perrodin, C., Veit, L., Kayser, C., Logothetis, N., & Petkov, C. (2009). Encoding properties of neurons sensitive to species-specific vocalizations in the anterior temporal lobe of primates. Poster presented at 3rd International Conference on Auditory Cortex (AC 2009), Magdeburg, Germany.

Item is


show hide
Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-C32D-D Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-1319-C
Genre: Poster


show Files




Perrodin, C1, 2, 3, Author              
Veit, L3, 4, Author              
Kayser, C1, 2, 3, Author              
Logothetis, NK1, 3, Author              
Petkov, C1, 3, Author              
1Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society, ou_1497798              
2Research Group Physiology of Sensory Integration, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society, ou_1497808              
3Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society, Spemannstrasse 38, 72076 Tübingen, DE, ou_1497794              
4Research Group Computational Vision and Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society, ou_1497805              


Free keywords: -
 Abstract: Human and monkey neuroimaging and monkey electrophysiological studies suggest that neurons in the anterior superior-temporal lobe are selective for species-specific vocalizations. To better understand the basis of this selectivity, we studied the coding properties of these neurons using extracellular recordings in the awake macaque. We used a paradigm based on a previous macaque fMRI study to localize with electrophysiological recordings a voice-sensitive region in the anterior superior-temporal plane that prefers species-specific vocalizations over other complex sound categories. This revealed a cluster of vocalization-preferring sites about 5mm anterior to the tonotopically organized field RT. To evaluate the neurons’ sensitivity to different vocal components, we used a set of 12 species-specific vocalizations and several acoustical manipulations of these calls. These controls involved, 1) preserved spectrum (PS) versions of the calls, 2) preserved envelope (PE) versions, i.e., pink noise shaped with the Hilbert extracted call envelope, and 3) preserved spectrum and envelope (PSE) versions, which combine the first-order spectral and temporal characteristics of the calls, i.e., their extracted frequency spectrum shaped with their envelope (see Figure 1). Comparing the responses to original calls and the controls, only 29 of the units significantly preferred one of these four categories, suggesting that the responses of many neurons are robust to our spectro-temporal manipulations. Of the selective units, the majority (60) favored the preserved spectrum sounds (PS; Fig. 1), indicating that these neurons are more sensitive to spectral than temporal components. Yet, a linear response classifier, inferring the identity of a vocalization from a neuron’s single trial responses, better decoded the original calls than the controls in the population of neurons. In addition, we found that the neurons are more selective for and more sparsely encode the original calls than the acoustical controls. Noteworthy, in comparison to previous reports from the auditory core, belt, parabelt and insular regions, the neurons in the anterior superior-temporal plane were considerably more selective to individual vocalizations (Fig. 1D). We then tested whether these neurons encode acoustical, phonetic, properties of calls or their presumed functional meaning (semantics). More units discriminated between acoustically different sounds belonging to a similar semantic category (e.g., coo vs. grunt) than those that were acoustically similar and from different semantic categories (e.g., grunt vs. pant threat). These results suggest that neuronal responses at this stage of the auditory processing hierarchy are governed by the acoustics of the calls. In conclusion, evaluating single neuron responses to the features of species-specific vocalizations is clarifying the function of the voice-sensitive regions of the primate brain. Although many of the neurons did not prefer any specific call type, they were selective for and could well decode the species-specific vocalizations and their responses revealed some preference for the spectral features of the calls. Our findings suggest that these neurons encode the acoustical features of species-specific vocalization, such as the spectrum of formant frequencies, which can provide caller species and identity information perhaps independently of a vocalization’s content.


 Dates: 2009-09
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Method: -
 Identifiers: BibTex Citekey: 6048
 Degree: -


Title: 3rd International Conference on Auditory Cortex (AC 2009)
Place of Event: Magdeburg, Germany
Start-/End Date: 2009-08-29 - 2009-09-02

Legal Case


Project information


Source 1

Title: Current concepts in human and animal research: program
Source Genre: Proceedings
Publ. Info: Jena, Germany : Conventus Congressmanagement & Marketing
Pages: 178 Volume / Issue: - Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 123 - 124 Identifier: ISBN: 978-3-00-028782-4