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Journal Article

MEG correlates of temporal regularity relevant to pitch perception in human auditory cortex


Kim,  Seung-Goo
Research Group Neurocognition of Music and Language, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Max Planck Society;
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Duke University;

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Kim, S.-G., Overat, T., Sedley, W., Kumar, S., Teki, S., Kikuchi, Y., et al. (2022). MEG correlates of temporal regularity relevant to pitch perception in human auditory cortex. NeuroImage, 249: 118879. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2022.118879.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000A-1F64-4
We recorded neural responses in human participants to three types of pitch-evoking regular stimuli at rates below and above the lower limit of pitch using magnetoencephalography (MEG). These bandpass filtered (1–4 kHz) stimuli were harmonic complex tones (HC), click trains (CT), and regular interval noise (RIN). Trials consisted of noise-regular-noise (NRN) or regular-noise-regular (RNR) segments in which the repetition rate (or fundamental frequency F0) was either above (250 Hz) or below (20 Hz) the lower limit of pitch. Neural activation was estimated and compared at the senor and source levels.

The pitch-relevant regular stimuli (F0 = 250 Hz) were all associated with marked evoked responses at around 140 ms after noise-to-regular transitions at both sensor and source levels. In particular, greater evoked responses to pitch-relevant stimuli than pitch-irrelevant stimuli (F0 = 20 Hz) were localized along the Heschl's sulcus around 140 ms. The regularity-onset responses for RIN were much weaker than for the other types of regular stimuli (HC, CT). This effect was localized over planum temporale, planum polare, and lateral Heschl's gyrus. Importantly, the effect of pitch did not interact with the stimulus type. That is, we did not find evidence to support different responses for different types of regular stimuli from the spatiotemporal cluster of the pitch effect (∼140 ms).

The current data demonstrate cortical sensitivity to temporal regularity relevant to pitch that is consistently present across different pitch-relevant stimuli in the Heschl's sulcus between Heschl's gyrus and planum temporale, both of which have been identified as a “pitch center” based on different modalities.