Neuroimage. 2014 Feb 1;86:461-9 doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.10.043. 2013 Oct 31.

Lateralized parietotemporal oscillatory phase synchronization during auditory selective attention

Huang S, Chang WT, Belliveau JW, Hämäläinen M, Ahveninen J.


Based on the infamous left-lateralized neglect syndrome, one might hypothesize that the dominating right parietal cortex has a bilateral representation of space, whereas the left parietal cortex represents only the contralateral right hemispace. Whether this principle applies to human auditory attention is not yet fully clear. Here, we explicitly tested the differences in cross-hemispheric functional coupling between the intraparietal sulcus (IPS) and auditory cortex (AC) using combined magnetoencephalography (MEG), EEG, and functional MRI (fMRI). Inter-regional pairwise phase consistency (PPC) was analyzed from data obtained during dichotic auditory selective attention task, where subjects were in 10-s trials cued to attend to sounds presented to one ear and to ignore sounds presented in the opposite ear. Using MEG/EEG/fMRI source modeling, parietotemporal PPC patterns were (a) mapped between all AC locations vs. IPS seeds and (b) analyzed between four anatomically defined AC regions-of-interest (ROI) vs. IPS seeds. Consistent with our hypothesis, stronger cross-hemispheric PPC was observed between the right IPS and left AC for attended right-ear sounds, as compared to PPC between the left IPS and right AC for attended left-ear sounds. In the mapping analyses, these differences emerged at 7-13Hz, i.e., at the theta to alpha frequency bands, and peaked in Heschl's gyrus and lateral posterior non-primary ACs. The ROI analysis revealed similarly lateralized differences also in the beta and lower theta bands. Taken together, our results support the view that the right parietal cortex dominates auditory spatial attention.

PMID: 24185023