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Source analysis of magnetic field responses from the human auditory cortex elicited by short speech sounds

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We made a detailed source analysis of the magnetic field responses that were elicited in the human brain by different monosyllabic speech sounds, including vowel, plosive, fricative, and nasal speech. Recordings of the magnetic field responses from a lateral area of the left hemisphere of human subjects were made using a multichannel SQUID magnetometer, having 37 field-sensing coils. A single source of the equivalent current dipole of the field was estimated from the spatial distribution of the evoked responses. The estimated sources of an N1m wave occurring at about 100 ms after the stimulus onset of different monosyllables were located close to each other within a 10-mm-sided cube in the three-dimensional space of the brain. Those sources registered on the magnetic resonance images indicated a restricted area in the auditory cortex, including Heschl's gyri in the superior temporal plane. In the spatiotemporal domain the sources exhibited apparent movements, among which anterior shift with latency increase on the anteroposterior axis and inferior shift on the inferosuperior axis were common in the responses to all monosyllables. However, selective movements that depended on the type of consonants were observed on the mediolateral axis; the sources of plosive and fricative responses shifted laterally with latency increase, but the source of the vowel response shifted medially. These spatiotemporal movements of the sources are discussed in terms of dynamic excitation of the cortical neurons in multiple areas of the human auditory cortex.

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Kuriki, S., Okita, Y. & Hirata, Y. Source analysis of magnetic field responses from the human auditory cortex elicited by short speech sounds. Exp Brain Res 104, 144–152 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00229864

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Key words

  • Auditory cortex
  • Evoked magnetic field
  • Speech sound
  • Current dipole source
  • Human