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Journal Article

Asymmetric hemodynamic responses of the human auditory cortex to monaural and binaural stimulation


Schulze,  Katrin
Max Planck Research Group Neurocognition of Music, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Jäncke, L., Wüstenberg, T., Schulze, K., & Heinze, K. J. (2002). Asymmetric hemodynamic responses of the human auditory cortex to monaural and binaural stimulation. Hearing Research, 170(1-2), 166-178. doi:10.1016/S0378-5955(02)00488-4.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0010-9E6C-C
Applying whole-head functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in 11 neurologically intact subjects, hemodynamic responses to mon- or binaurally presented auditory stimuli were measured. To expand on previous studies in this research area, we used tones and consonant–vowel (CV) syllables. In one group of subjects (n=6) the perceived loudness of the monaurally presented stimuli were adjusted so that they matched the loudness of the binaurally presented stimuli. In a second group (n=5) no loudness adjustment was performed, thus the monaural stimuli were perceived less loud (∼10 dB) than the binaural stimuli. These extensions allowed us to test whether CV syllables and tones produce different contralaterality effects (stronger hemodynamic responses in the auditory cortex contralateral to the stimulated ear) and whether binaural stimulation results in stronger activations in the auditory areas than during both monaural stimulation conditions (binaural summation) independent of loudness influences. In summary, we obtained the following findings: (1) strong contralaterality effects during monaural acoustic stimulation in the posterior superior temporal gyrus (STG) comprising the planum temporale and the dorsal bank of the superior temporal sulcus to CV syllables and tones; (2) the hemodynamic responses to contralaterally presented stimuli (during the monaural conditions) were mostly stronger than those to binaurally presented CV syllables; (3) there was no interaction between stimulus type and the size of the contralaterality effect; (4) there was no indication of binaural summation, rather we found stronger hemodynamic responses to the sum of both monaural stimulations (right and left ear) than to binaural stimulation in all auditory areas; (5) there were generally stronger hemodynamic responses to CV syllables than to tones in the posterior STG, while the hemodynamic responses to tones were stronger in the anterior part of the STG (temporal pole); and finally (6) there was no general difference in terms of hemodynamic response in the auditory cortex between the two groups when receiving either loudness-matched or non-loudness-matched monaural stimulation. These findings are discussed in the context of the underlying neurophysiological mechanisms, the peculiarities of functional fMRI, and the direct access and callosal relay models of hemispheric lateralization.