Hierarchical organization of the human auditory cortex revealed by functional magnetic resonance imaging

J Cogn Neurosci. 2001 Jan 1;13(1):1-7. doi: 10.1162/089892901564108.


The concept of hierarchical processing--that the sensory world is broken down into basic features later integrated into more complex stimulus preferences--originated from investigations of the visual cortex. Recent studies of the auditory cortex in nonhuman primates revealed a comparable architecture, in which core areas, receiving direct input from the thalamus, in turn, provide input to a surrounding belt. Here functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) shows that the human auditory cortex displays a similar hierarchical organization: pure tones (PTs) activate primarily the core, whereas belt areas prefer complex sounds, such as narrow-band noise bursts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Auditory Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Auditory Cortex / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male