Representations of specific acoustic patterns in the auditory cortex and hippocampus

Sukhbinder Kumar, Heidi Bonnici, Sundeep Teki, Trevor Agus, Daniel Pressnitzer, Eleanor Maguire, Timothy Griffiths

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Abstract

Previous behavioural studies have shown that repeated presentation of a randomly chosen acoustic pattern leads to the unsupervised learning of some of its specific acoustic features. The objective of our study was to determine the neural substrate for the representation of freshly learnt acoustic patterns. Subjects first performed a behavioural task that resulted in the incidental learning of three different noise-like acoustic patterns. During subsequent high-resolution functional magnetic resonance imaging scanning, subjects were then exposed again to these three learnt patterns and to others that had not been learned. Multi-voxel pattern analysis was used to test if the learnt acoustic patterns could be 'decoded' from the patterns of activity in the auditory cortex and medial temporal lobe. We found that activity in planum temporale and the hippocampus reliably distinguished between the learnt acoustic patterns. Our results demonstrate that these structures are involved in the neural representation of specific acoustic patterns after they have been learnt.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20141000
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume281
Issue number1791
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sep 2014

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