Using ultra-high field fMRI, we explored the cortical depth-dependent stability of acoustic feature preference in human auditory cortex. We collected responses from human auditory cortex (subjects from either sex) to a large number of natural sounds at submillimeter spatial resolution, and observed that these responses were well explained by a model that assumes neuronal population tuning to frequency-specific spectrotemporal modulations. We observed a relatively stable (columnar) tuning to frequency and temporal modulations. However, spectral modulation tuning was variable throughout the cortical depth. This difference in columnar stability between feature maps could not be explained by a difference in map smoothness, as the preference along the cortical sheet varied in a similar manner for the different feature maps. Furthermore, tuning to all three features was more columnar in primary than nonprimary auditory cortex. The observed overall lack of overlapping columnar regions across acoustic feature maps suggests, especially for primary auditory cortex, a coding strategy in which across cortical depths tuning to some features is kept stable, whereas tuning to other features systematically varies.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Received Dec. 20, 2017; revised July 10, 2018; accepted July 11, 2018. Authorcontributions:M.M.,F.D.M.,E.F.,andE.Y.designedresearch;M.M.,F.D.M.,andE.Y.performedresearch; M.M. analyzed data; M.M., F.D.M., K.U., E.F., and E.Y. wrote the paper. This work was supported by The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (Rubicon Grant 446-12-010 to M.M.,VENIGrant451-15-012toM.M.,VIDIGrant864-13-012toF.D.M.,andVICIGrant453-12-002toE.F.),National Institutes of Health Grants P41 EB015894, P30 NS076408, and S10 RR026783, and the W.M. Keck Foundation. This research has been made possible with the support of the Dutch Province of Limburg. The authors declare no competing financial interests. Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Michelle Moerel, Maastricht Centre for Systems Biology, Maastricht University, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3576-17.2018 Copyright © 2018 the authors 0270-6474/18/387822-11$15.00/0
This work was supported by The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (Rubicon Grant 446-12-010 to M.M., VENI Grant 451-15-012 to M.M., VIDI Grant 864-13-012 to F.D.M., and VICI Grant 453-12-002 to E.F.), National Institutes of Health Grants P41 EB015894, P30 NS076408, and S10 RR026783, and the W.M. Keck Foundation. This research has been made possible with the support of the Dutch Province of Limburg.
© 2018 the authors.
- Auditory cortex
- Columnar processing
- Spectrotemporal modulations
- Ultra-high field fMRI