Behavioral lifetime of human auditory sensory memory predicted by physiological measures

Science  04 Dec 1992:
Vol. 258, Issue 5088, pp. 1668-1670
DOI: 10.1126/science.1455246


Noninvasive magnetoencephalography makes it possible to identify the cortical area in the human brain whose activity reflects the decay of passive sensory storage of information about auditory stimuli (echoic memory). The lifetime for decay of the neuronal activation trace in primary auditory cortex was found to predict the psychophysically determined duration of memory for the loudness of a tone. Although memory for the loudness of a specific tone is lost, the remembered loudness decays toward the global mean of all of the loudnesses to which a subject is exposed in a series of trials.