Right temporal TMS impairs voice detection

  • Bestelmeyer P
  • Belin P
  • Grosbras M
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Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) research has revealed bilateral cortical regions along the upper banks of the superior temporal sulci (STS) which respond preferentially to voices compared to non-vocal, environmental sounds [1] and [2] . This sensitivity is particularly pronounced in the right hemisphere. Voice perception models imply that these regions, referred to as the temporal voice areas (TVAs), could correspond to a first stage of voice-specific processing in auditory cortex [3] and [4] , after which different types of vocal information are processed in interacting but partially independent functional pathways. However, clear causal evidence for this claim is missing. Here we provide the first direct link between TVA activity and voice detection ability using repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). Voice/non-voice discrimination ability was impaired when rTMS was targeted at the right TVA compared with a control site. In contrast, a lower-level loudness judgement task was not differentially affected by site of stimulation. Results imply that neuronal computations in the right TVA are necessary for the distinction between human voices and other, non-vocal sounds.




Bestelmeyer, P. E. G., Belin, P., & Grosbras, M.-H. (2011). Right temporal TMS impairs voice detection. Current Biology, 21(20), R838–R839. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2011.08.046

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