What and where in human audition: selective deficits following focal hemispheric lesions
A sound that we hear in a natural setting allows us to identify the sound source and localize it in space. The two aspects can be disrupted independently as shown in a study of 15 patients with focal right-hemispheric lesions. Four patients were normal in sound recognition but severely impaired in sound localization, whereas three other patients had difficulties in recognizing sounds but localized them well. The lesions involved the inferior parietal and frontal cortices, and the superior temporal gyrus in patients with selective sound localization deficit; and the temporal pole and anterior part of the fusiform, inferior and middle temporal gyri in patients with selective recognition deficit. These results suggest separate cortical processing pathways for auditory recognition and localization.