Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Neural representation of auditory size in the human voice and in sounds from other resonant sources

Smith, David R.R.; von Kriegstein, Katharina; Smith, David R. R.; Patterson, Roy D.; Ives, D. Timothy; Griffiths, Timothy D.


David R.R. Smith

Katharina von Kriegstein

Profile Image

Dr David Smith
Senior Lecturer, Director of Studies for Psychology

Roy D. Patterson

D. Timothy Ives

Timothy D. Griffiths


The size of a resonant source can be estimated by the acoustic-scale information in the sound [1-3]. Previous studies revealed that posterior superior temporal gyrus (STG) responds to acoustic scale in human speech when it is controlled for spectral-envelope change (unpublished data). Here we investigate whether the STG activity is specific to the processing of acoustic scale in human voice or whether it reflects a generic mechanism for the analysis of acoustic scale in resonant sources. In two functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiments, we measured brain activity in response to changes in acoustic scale in different categories of resonant sound (human voice, animal call, and musical instrument). We show that STG is activated bilaterally for spectral-envelope changes in general; it responds to changes in category as well as acoustic scale. Activity in left posterior STG is specific to acoustic scale in human voices and not responsive to acoustic scale in other resonant sources. In contrast, the anterior temporal lobe and intraparietal sulcus are activated by changes in acoustic scale across categories. The results imply that the human voice requires special processing of acoustic scale, whereas the anterior temporal lobe and intraparietal sulcus process auditory size information independent of source category. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


von Kriegstein, K., Smith, D. R. R., Patterson, R. D., Ives, D. T., & Griffiths, T. D. (2007). Neural representation of auditory size in the human voice and in sounds from other resonant sources. Current biology : CB, 17(13), 1123-1128.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 3, 2007
Publication Date Jul 3, 2007
Print ISSN 0960-9822
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 17
Issue 13
Pages 1123-1128
Keywords General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology; General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Public URL
Publisher URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations