Auditory and visual sensory representations in human prefrontal cortex as revealed by stimulus-evoked spike-wave complexes

Brain. 1995 Apr;118 ( Pt 2):473-84. doi: 10.1093/brain/118.2.473.


Multimodal sensory properties of the prefrontal cortex have been extensively studied in monkeys, while little is known of such functions in humans. We report electrophysiological evidence for auditory and visual representations in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, as inferred from intracerebral 'depth' recordings of focal, sensory-evoked spike-wave complexes (SWC) in an epileptic patient. In addition to clinical monitoring, the patient participated in behavioural evoked potential studies involving auditory and visual discrimination tasks. Inspection of evoked potential recordings from different medial-to-lateral prefrontal sites revealed overlapping, but non-identical topographies of evoked SWC for the two sensory modalities. The maximal activity of sensory-evoked SWC was located 7 mm more medially for visual than for auditory stimuli, and occurred later for visual presentations (mean = 117 ms following stimulus onset) than for auditory ones (mean = 87 ms). Effects of sensory habituation were seen. Evoked SWC were less likely to occur following repeated presentations of an unchanging tone than when tones alternated in pitch, or when a tone followed an omission in stimulus presentation. Visual hemifield effects were found, with greater prefrontal responsiveness to presentations in the contralateral visual hemifield. These results are consistent with electrophysiological findings in animals indicating overlapping auditory and visual representations in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology*
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory*
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Sensation