Tonotopic mapping of human auditory cortex

Since the early days of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), retinotopic mapping emerged as a powerful and widely-accepted tool, allowing the identification of individual visual cortical fields and furthering the study of visual processing. In contrast, tonotopic mapping in auditory cortex proved more challenging primarily because of the smaller size of auditory cortical fields. The spatial resolution capabilities of fMRI have since advanced, and recent reports from our labs and several others demonstrate the reliability of tonotopic mapping in human auditory cortex. Here we review the wide range of stimulus procedures and analysis methods that have been used to successfully map tonotopy in human auditory cortex. We point out that recent studies provide a remarkably consistent view of human tonotopic organisation, although the interpretation of the maps continues to vary. In particular, there remains controversy over the exact orientation of the primary gradients with respect to Heschl's gyrus, which leads to different predictions about the location of human A1, R, and surrounding fields. We discuss the development of this debate and argue that literature is converging towards an interpretation that core fields A1 and R fold across the rostral and caudal banks of Heschl's gyrus, with tonotopic gradients laid out in a distinctive V-shaped manner. This suggests an organisation that is largely homologous with non-human primates. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled . (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


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