Processing of frequency-modulated sounds in the lateral auditory belt cortex of the rhesus monkey

J Neurophysiol. 2004 Nov;92(5):2993-3013. doi: 10.1152/jn.00472.2003.


Single neurons were recorded from the lateral belt areas, anterolateral (AL), mediolateral (ML), and caudolateral (CL), of nonprimary auditory cortex in 4 adult rhesus monkeys under gas anesthesia, while the neurons were stimulated with frequency-modulated (FM) sweeps. Responses to FM sweeps, measured as the firing rate of the neurons, were invariably greater than those to tone bursts. In our stimuli, frequency changed linearly from low to high frequencies (FM direction "up") or high to low frequencies ("down") at varying speeds (FM rates). Neurons were highly selective to the rate and direction of the FM sweep. Significant differences were found between the 3 lateral belt areas with regard to their FM rate preferences: whereas neurons in ML responded to the whole range of FM rates, AL neurons responded better to slower FM rates in the range of naturally occurring communication sounds. CL neurons generally responded best to fast FM rates at a speed of several hundred Hz/ms, which have the broadest frequency spectrum. These selectivities are consistent with a role of AL in the decoding of communication sounds and of CL in the localization of sounds, which works best with broader bandwidths. Together, the results support the hypothesis of parallel streams for the processing of different aspects of sounds, including auditory objects and auditory space.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Auditory Cortex / physiology*
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cats
  • Electrophysiology / methods
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology*