Auditory-motor interaction revealed by fMRI: Speech, music, and working memory in area Spt


The concept of auditory–motor interaction pervades speech science research, yet the cortical systems supporting this interface have not been elucidated. Drawing on experimental designs used in recent work in sensory–motor integration in the cortical visual system, we used fMRI in an effort to identify human auditory regions with both sensory and motor response properties, analogous to single-unit responses in known visuomotor integration areas. The sensory phase of the task involved listening to speech (nonsense sentences) or music (novel piano melodies); the “motor” phase of the task involved covert rehearsal/humming of the auditory stimuli. A small set of areas in the superior temporal and temporal– parietal cortex responded both during the listening phase and the rehearsal/humming phase. A left lateralized region in the posterior Sylvian fissure at the parietal–temporal boundary, area Spt, showed particularly robust responses to both phases of the task. Frontal areas also showed combined auditory + reh…

Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience