Electromagnetic recording of the auditory system

David Poeppel, Gregory Hickok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Auditory processing is remarkably fast and sensitive to the precise temporal structure of acoustic signals over a range of scales, from submillisecond phenomena such as localization to the construction of elementary auditory attributes at tens of milliseconds to basic properties of speech and music at hundreds of milliseconds. In light of the rapid (and often transitory) nature of auditory phenomena, in order to investigate the neurocomputational basis of auditory perception and cognition, a technique with high temporal resolution is appropriate. Here we briefly outline the utility of magnetoencephalography (MEG) for the study of the neural basis of audition. The basics of MEG are outlined in brief, and some of the most-used neural responses are described. We discuss the classic transient evoked fields (e.g., M100), responses elicited by change in a stimulus (e.g., pitch-onset response), the auditory steady-state response, and neural oscillations (e.g., theta-phase tracking). Because of the high temporal resolution and the good spatial resolution of MEG, paired with the convenient location of human auditory cortex for MEG-based recording, electromagnetic recording of this type is well suited to investigate various aspects from audition, from crafted laboratory experiments on pitch perception or scene analysis to naturalistic speech and music tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-255
Number of pages11
JournalHandbook of Clinical Neurology
StatePublished - 2015


  • ASSR
  • Change detection
  • Evoked field
  • Evoked response
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • MEG
  • Neuromagnetic
  • Oscillation
  • Speech

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • General Medicine


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