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Neural correlates of sensory and decision processes in auditory object identification.

Physiological studies of auditory perception have not yet clearly distinguished sensory from decision processes. In this experiment, human participants identified speech sounds masked by varying levels of noise while blood oxygenation signals in the brain were recorded with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Accuracy and response time were used to characterize the behavior of sensory and decision components of this perceptual system. Oxygenation signals in a cortical subregion just anterior and lateral to primary auditory cortex predicted accuracy of sound identification, whereas signals in an inferior frontal region predicted response time. Our findings provide neurophysiological evidence for a functional distinction between sensory and decision mechanisms underlying auditory object identification. The present results also indicate a link between inferior frontal lobe activation and response-selection processes during auditory perception tasks.

Pubmed ID: 14966525


  • Binder JR
  • Liebenthal E
  • Possing ET
  • Medler DA
  • Ward BD


Nature neuroscience

Publication Data

March 25, 2004

Associated Grants

  • Agency: NCRR NIH HHS, Id: M01 RR00058
  • Agency: NIMH NIH HHS, Id: P01 MH51358
  • Agency: NIDCD NIH HHS, Id: R01 DC006287
  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: R01 NS33576

Mesh Terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adult
  • Auditory Pathways
  • Auditory Perception
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation
  • Cognition
  • Decision Making
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Reaction Time
  • Speech Perception
  • Temporal Lobe