The organization and physiology of the auditory thalamus and its role in processing acoustic features important for speech perception

Brain Lang. 2013 Jul;126(1):29-48. doi: 10.1016/j.bandl.2013.03.003.


The auditory thalamus, or medial geniculate body (MGB), is the primary sensory input to auditory cortex. Therefore, it plays a critical role in the complex auditory processing necessary for robust speech perception. This review will describe the functional organization of the thalamus as it relates to processing acoustic features important for speech perception, focusing on thalamic nuclei that relate to auditory representations of language sounds. The MGB can be divided into three main subdivisions, the ventral, dorsal, and medial subdivisions, each with different connectivity, auditory response properties, neuronal properties, and synaptic properties. Together, the MGB subdivisions actively and dynamically shape complex auditory processing and form ongoing communication loops with auditory cortex and subcortical structures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Geniculate Bodies / anatomy & histology*
  • Geniculate Bodies / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Speech Perception / physiology*