Processing of complex sounds in the macaque nonprimary auditory cortex

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Science  07 Apr 1995:
Vol. 268, Issue 5207, pp. 111-114
DOI: 10.1126/science.7701330


Neurons in the superior temporal gyrus of anesthetized rhesus monkeys were exposed to complex acoustic stimuli. Bandpassed noise bursts with defined center frequencies evoked responses that were greatly enhanced over those evoked by pure tones. This finding led to the discovery of at least one new cochleotopic area in the lateral belt of the nonprimary auditory cortex. The best center frequencies of neurons varied along a rostrocaudal axis, and the best bandwidths of the noise bursts varied along a mediolateral axis. When digitized monkey calls were used as stimuli, many neurons showed a preference for some calls over others. Manipulation of the calls' frequency structure and playback of separate components revealed different types of spectral integration. The lateral areas of the monkey auditory cortex appear to be part of a hierarchical sequence in which neurons prefer increasingly complex stimuli and may form an important stage in the preprocessing of communication sounds.

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