Voice selectivity in the temporal voice area despite matched low-level acoustic cues.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    • Trevor Agus
    • Sebastien Paquette
    • Clara Suied
    • Daniel Pressnitzer
    • Pascal Belin

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    In human listeners, the temporal voice areas (TVAs) are regions of the superior temporal gyrus and sulcus that respond more to vocal sounds than a range of nonvocal control sounds, including scrambled voices, environmental noises, and animal cries. One interpretation of the TVA’s selectivity is based on low-level acoustic cues: compared to control sounds, vocal sounds may have stronger harmonic content or greater spectrotemporal complexity. Here, we show that the right TVA remains selective to the human voice even when accounting for a variety of acoustical cues. Using fMRI, single vowel stimuli were contrasted with single notes of musical instruments with balanced harmonic-to-noise ratios and pitches. We also used “auditory chimeras”, which preserved subsets of acoustical features of the vocal sounds. The right TVA was preferentially activated only for the natural human voice. In particular, the TVA did not respond more to artificial chimeras preserving the exact spectral profile of voices. Additional acoustic measures, including temporal modulations and spectral complexity, could not account for the increased activation. These observations rule out simple acoustical cues as a basis for voice selectivity in the TVAs.


    • Voice selectivity in the temporal voice area despite matched low level acoustic cues

      Rights statement: Copyright 2017 the authors. This is an open access article published under a Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the author and source are cited.

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    Original languageEnglish
    Article number11526
    Pages (from-to)1-7
    JournalScientific Reports
    Journal publication date14 Sep 2017
    Publication statusPublished - 14 Sep 2017

    ID: 135225547