Lateralization of auditory-cortex functions

Research Area: Research Year: 2003
Type of Publication: Article
Authors: Tervaniemi, M; Hugdahl, Kenneth
In the present review, we summarize the most recent findings and current views about the structural and functional basis of human brain lateralization in the auditory modality. Main emphasis is given to hemodynamic and electromagnetic data of healthy adult participants with regard to music- vs. speech-sound encoding. Moreover, a selective set of behavioral dichotic-listening (DL) results and clinical findings (e.g., schizophrenia, dyslexia) are included. It is shown that human brain has a strong predisposition to process speech sounds in the left and music sounds in the right auditory cortex in the temporal lobe. Up to great extent, an auditory area located at the posterior end of the temporal lobe (called planum temporale [PT]) underlies this functional asymmetry. However, the predisposition is not bound to informational sound content but to rapid temporal information more common in speech than in music sounds. Finally, we obtain evidence for the vulnerability of the functional specialization of sound processing. These altered forms of lateralization may be caused by top-down and bottom-up effects inter- and intraindividually In other words, relatively small changes in acoustic sound features or in their familiarity may modify the degree in which the left vs. right auditory areas contribute to sound encoding.
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