Hear Res. 2014 Jan;307:86-97 doi: 10.1016/j.heares.2013.07.008. 2013 Jul 22.

Psychophysics and neuronal bases of sound localization in humans

Ahveninen J, Kopčo N, Jääskeläinen IP.


Localization of sound sources is a considerable computational challenge for the human brain. Whereas the visual system can process basic spatial information in parallel, the auditory system lacks a straightforward correspondence between external spatial locations and sensory receptive fields. Consequently, the question how different acoustic features supporting spatial hearing are represented in the central nervous system is still open. Functional neuroimaging studies in humans have provided evidence for a posterior auditory "where" pathway that encompasses non-primary auditory cortex areas, including the planum temporale (PT) and posterior superior temporal gyrus (STG), which are strongly activated by horizontal sound direction changes, distance changes, and movement. However, these areas are also activated by a wide variety of other stimulus features, posing a challenge for the interpretation that the underlying areas are purely spatial. This review discusses behavioral and neuroimaging studies on sound localization, and some of the competing models of representation of auditory space in humans. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Human Auditory Neuroimaging.

PMID: 23886698