Cortical steady-state responses to central and peripheral auditory beats

Cereb Cortex. 2008 May;18(5):1193-200. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhm153. Epub 2007 Sep 7.


Different types of generation mechanisms of 40-Hz auditory steady-state response (ASSR) were investigated using diotic and dichotic stimulation with 500- and 540-Hz pure tones of 1.0-s duration and 2.0-s stimulus onset asynchrony. When the sum of both tones was presented to both ears simultaneously, they interacted at cochlear level and resulted in perception of a 40-Hz beat termed "peripheral beat." Dichotic presentation of the 500-Hz tone to one ear and the 540-Hz tone to the other one resulted in beat perception as the effect of central interaction, most likely in the superior olivary nuclei and was termed "central beat." ASSR and transient N1m responses were found in the averaged 151-channel whole-head magnetoencephalographic recordings under both stimulus conditions and were modeled with single spatiotemporal equivalent current dipoles in both hemispheres. The ASSR sources in both conditions were more anterior, more inferior, and more medial compared with N1m sources. Right hemispheric lateralization of the magnetic field strength was found for the ASSR in both stimulus conditions. Although the central and peripheral beat interacted at different levels of the auditory system, the initial responses were projected along the afferent auditory pathway and activated common cortical sources.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation / methods*
  • Adult
  • Auditory Cortex / physiology*
  • Auditory Pathways / physiology
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / physiology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetoencephalography*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sound Localization / physiology*