Neuromagnetic evidence for a pitch processing center in Heschl's gyrus

Cereb Cortex. 2003 Jul;13(7):765-72. doi: 10.1093/cercor/13.7.765.


There have been several attempts to use the neuromagnetic response to the onset of a tonal sound (N100m) to study pitch processing in auditory cortex. Unfortunately, a large proportion of the N100m is simply a response to the onset of sound energy, independent of whether the sound produces a pitch. The current study describes a novel stimulus paradigm designed to circumvent the energy-onset response and thereby isolate the response of those neural elements specifically involved in pitch processing. The temporal resolution of magnetoencephalography enables us to show that the latency and amplitude of this pitch-onset response (POR) vary with the pitch and pitch strength of the tone. The spatial resolution is sufficient to show that its source lies somewhat anterior and inferior to that of the N100m, probably in the medial part of Heschl's gyrus.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation / methods*
  • Auditory Cortex / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetoencephalography / methods*
  • Noise
  • Pitch Discrimination / physiology*
  • Pitch Perception / physiology
  • Reaction Time / physiology