Representation of Sound Objects within Early-Stage Auditory Areas: A Repetition Effect Study Using 7T fMRI
Environmental sounds are highly complex stimuli whose recognition depends on the interaction of top-down and bottom-up processes in the brain. Their semantic representations were shown to yield repetition suppression effects, i. e. a decrease in activity during exposure to a sound that is perceived as belonging to the same source as a preceding sound. Making use of the high spatial resolution of 7T fMRI we have investigated the representations of sound objects within early-stage auditory areas on the supratemporal plane. The primary auditory cortex was identified by means of tonotopic mapping and the non-primary areas by comparison with previous histological studies. Repeated presentations of different exemplars of the same sound source, as compared to the presentation of different sound sources, yielded significant repetition suppression effects within a subset of early-stage areas. This effect was found within the right hemisphere in primary areas A1 and R as well as two non-primary areas on the antero-medial part of the planum temporale, and within the left hemisphere in A1 and a non-primary area on the medial part of Heschl's gyrus. Thus, several, but not all early-stage auditory areas encode the meaning of environmental sounds.