Neuroanatomic organization of sound memory in humans

Michael A. Kraut, Jeffery A. Pitcock, Vince Calhoun, Juan Li, Thomas Freeman, John Hart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The neural interface between sensory perception and memory is a central issue in neuroscience, particularly initial memory organization following perceptual analyses. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to identify anatomic regions extracting initial auditory semantic memory information related to environmental sounds. Two distinct anatomic foci were detected in the right superior temporal gyrus when subjects identified sounds representing either animals or threatening items. Threatening animal stimuli elicited signal changes in both foci, suggesting a distributed neural representation. Our results demonstrate both category- and feature-specific responses to nonverbal sounds in early stages of extracting semantic memory information from these sounds. This organization allows for these category-feature detection nodes to extract early, semantic memory information for efficient processing of transient sound stimuli. Neural regions selective for threatening sounds are similar to those of non-human primates, demonstrating semantic memory organization for basic biological/survival primitives are present across species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1877-1888
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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