Asymmetric sampling in human auditory cortex reveals spectral processing hierarchy

Jérémy Giroud, Agnès Trébuchon, Daniele Schön, Patrick Marquis, Catherine Liegeois-Chauvel, David Poeppel, Benjamin Morillon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Speech perception is mediated by both left and right auditory cortices but with differential sensitivity to specific acoustic information contained in the speech signal. A detailed description of this functional asymmetry is missing, and the underlying models are widely debated. We analyzed cortical responses from 96 epilepsy patients with electrode implantation in left or right primary, secondary, and/or association auditory cortex (AAC). We presented short acoustic transients to noninvasively estimate the dynamical properties of multiple functional regions along the auditory cortical hierarchy. We show remarkably similar bimodal spectral response profiles in left and right primary and secondary regions, with evoked activity composed of dynamics in the theta (around 4-8 Hz) and beta-gamma (around 15-40 Hz) ranges. Beyond these first cortical levels of auditory processing, a hemispheric asymmetry emerged, with delta and beta band (3/15 Hz) responsivity prevailing in the right hemisphere and theta and gamma band (6/40 Hz) activity prevailing in the left. This asymmetry is also present during syllables presentation, but the evoked responses in AAC are more heterogeneous, with the co-occurrence of alpha (around 10 Hz) and gamma (>25 Hz) activity bilaterally. These intracranial data provide a more fine-grained and nuanced characterization of cortical auditory processing in the 2 hemispheres, shedding light on the neural dynamics that potentially shape auditory and speech processing at different levels of the cortical hierarchy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere3000207
JournalPLoS biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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