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Processing of vocalizations in humans and monkeys: A comparative fMRI study

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Olivier Joly


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Humans and many other animals use acoustical signals to mediate social interactions with conspecifics. The evolution of sound-based communication is still poorly understood and its neural correlates have only recently begun to be investigated. In the present study, we applied functional MRI to humans and macaque monkeys listening to identical stimuli in order to compare the cortical networks involved in the processing of vocalizations. At the first stages of auditory processing, both species showed similar fMRI activity maps within and around the lateral sulcus (the Sylvian fissure in humans). Monkeys showed remarkably similar responses to monkey calls and to human vocal sounds (speech or otherwise), mainly in the lateral sulcus and the adjacent superior temporal gyrus (STG). In contrast, a preference for human vocalizations and especially for speech was observed in the human STG and superior temporal sulcus (STS). The STS and Broca's region were especially responsive to intelligible utterances. The evolution of the language faculty in humans appears to have recruited most of the STS. It may be that in monkeys, a much simpler repertoire of vocalizations requires less involvement of this temporal territory.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Joly O, Pallier C, Ramus F, Pressnitzer D, Vanduffel W, Orban GA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: NeuroImage

Year: 2012

Volume: 62

Issue: 3

Pages: 1376-1389

Print publication date: 31/05/2012

ISSN (print): 1053-8119

ISSN (electronic): 1095-9572

Publisher: Academic Press


DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.05.070

PubMed id: 22659478

Notes: Joly O and Pallier C contributed equally


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