Single Neuron Activity in the Right and Left Human Temporal Lobe During Listening and Speaking

  • O. Creutzfeldt
  • G. Ojemann
  • E. Lettich
Part of the Wenner-Gren Center International Symposium Series book series (WGCISS, volume 47)


Single unit activity in the temporal lobe was recorded from 23 consenting, conscious patients during epilepsy operations. Units in the superior and middle temporal gyrus responded to language signals with excitation or suppression in close temporal relation with the speech signal. No specific responses to phonetic or semantic contents of the words could be recognized, but pure tones and other noises were ineffective. A few units responded specifically to the second part of composed words. Language spoken by the patient himself could also lead to excitatory or inhibitory responses in the same or other units. Melodic, quiet music induced a suppression of spontaneous discharge rate in a majority of units. Responses to language were confined to the middle and posterior section of the superior and middle temporal gyrus. No responses were recorded from the temporal pole region and the inferior temporal gyrus. Suppression by music was found in the same regions which showed positive language responses, but other areas were not explored. As yet, we have not been able to find significant differences of single unit responses to these acoustical signals between the left and right temporal lobes.


Temporal Lobe Speech Signal Superior Temporal Gyrus Middle Temporal Gyrus Inferior Temporal Gyrus 
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© The Wenner-Gren Center 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • O. Creutzfeldt
  • G. Ojemann
  • E. Lettich

There are no affiliations available

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