Functional magnetic resonance imaging measures of blood flow patterns in the human auditory cortex in response to sound

Sean C. Huckins, Christopher W. Turner, Karen A. Doherty, Michael M. Fonte, Nikolaus M. Szeverenyi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) holds exciting potential as a research and clinical tool for exploring the human auditory system. This noninvasive technique allows the measurement of discrete changes in cerebral cortical blood flow in response to sensory stimuli, allowing determination of precise neuroanatomical locations of the underlying brain porenchymal activity. Application of fMRI in auditory research, however, has been limited. One problem is that fMRI utilizing echo-planar imaging technology (EPI) generates intense noise that could potentially affect the results of auditory experiments. Also, issues relating to the reliability of fMRI for listeners with normal hearing need to be resolved before this technique can be used to study listeners with hearing loss. This preliminary study examines the feasibility of using fMRI in auditory research by performing a simple set of experiments to test the reliability of scanning parameters that use a high resolution and high signal-to-noise ratio unlike that presently reported in the literature. We used consonant-vowel (CV) speech stimuli to investigate whether or not we could observe reproducible and consistent changes in cortical blood flow in listeners during a single scanning session, across more than one scanning session, and in more than one listener. In addition, we wanted to determine if there were differences between CV speech and nonspeech complex stimuli across listeners. Our study shows reproducibility within and across listeners for CV speech stimuli. Results were reproducible for CV speech stimuli within fMRI scanning sessions for 5 out of 9 listeners and were reproducible for 6 out of 8 listeners across fMRI scanning sessions. Results of nonspeech complex stimuli across listeners showed activity in 4 out of 9 individuals tested.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)538-548
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1998


  • Auditory cortex
  • Brain mapping
  • Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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