These kinds of studies are only rarely conducted on humans; therefore, much of our knowledge comes from the work with animals. Neurologists primarily use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to see "through" the human brain - including the auditory cortex. Looking at hearing, they saw a pattern of activity comparable to that of monkeys. "But the comparisons were indirect," says Christopher Petkov, who led research at the Max Planck Institute. Until now, there had not been any fMRI conducted on the auditory cortex of monkeys, for comparison. "We have now closed that gap," he explains. Scientists have compared the results that various methods produce on the auditory cortex of macaques and these can now be linked to the human imaging using the same technique. They can also now investigate more thoroughly to what extent a monkey's neuronal auditory centres resemble - and differ from - humans'. This will help advance research into how the primate brain separates sound mixtures in our typically noisy listening environment.
In the new fMRI study, scientists went beyond identifying individual auditory cortex fields
Contact: Christopher Petkov