Lateral response dynamics and hemispheric dominance for speech perception.
ABSTRACT In this study, we investigated the mechanism for the left cerebral hemisphere's dominance for speech perception. We utilized the crossover of auditory pathways in the central nervous system to present speech stimuli more directly to the left hemisphere (via the right ear) and right hemisphere (via the left ear). Using functional MRI, we found that estimated duration of neural response in the left auditory cortex increased as more speech information was directly received from the right ear. Conversely, response duration in the right auditory cortex was not modulated when more speech information was directly received from the left ear. These data suggest that selective temporal responding distinguishes the dominant from nondominant hemisphere of the human brain during speech perception.
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ABSTRACT: Investigating auditory hallucinations that occur in health may help elucidate brain mechanisms which lead to the pathological experience of auditory hallucinations in neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. In this study, we investigated healthy individuals who reported auditory hallucinations whilst falling asleep (hypnagogic hallucinations; HG) and waking up (hypnopompic hallucinations; HP). In an initial behavioural study, we found that subjects with a history of auditory HG/HP hallucinations (n = 26) reported significantly greater subjective sensitivity to environmental sounds than non-hallucinator controls (n = 74). Then, two fMRI experiments were performed. The first examined speech-evoked brain activation in 12 subjects with a history of auditory HG/HP hallucinations and 12 non-hallucinator controls matched for age, gender and IQ. The second fMRI experiment, in the same subjects, probed how brain activation was modulated by auditory attention using a bimodal selective attention paradigm. In the first experiment, the hallucinator group demonstrated significantly greater speech-evoked activation in the left supramarginal gyrus than the control group. In the second experiment, directing attention towards the auditory (vs. visual) modality induced significantly greater activation of the anterior cingulate gyrus in the hallucinator group than in the control group. These results suggest that hallucination proneness is associated with increased sensitivity of auditory and polysensory association cortex to auditory stimulation, an effect which might arise due to enhanced attentional bias from the anterior cingulate gyrus. Our data support the overarching hypothesis that top-down modulation of auditory cortical response characteristics may be a key mechanistic step in the generation of auditory hallucinations.NeuroImage 05/2011; 57(3):1154-61. · 6.25 Impact Factor