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Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Psychol., 09 May 2011 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00085

Task-specific modulation of human auditory evoked response in a delayed-match-to-sample task

Feng Rong1,2, Tom Holroyd3, Fatima T. Husain1, Jose L. Contreras-Vidal2 and Barry Horwitz1*
  • 1 Brain Imaging and Modeling Section, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA
  • 2 Graduate Programs in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science, Department of Kinesiology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA
  • 3 MEG Core facility, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA

In this study, we focus our investigation on task-specific cognitive modulation of early cortical auditory processing in human cerebral cortex. During the experiments, we acquired whole-head magnetoencephalography data while participants were performing an auditory delayed-match-to-sample (DMS) task and associated control tasks. Using a spatial filtering beamformer technique to simultaneously estimate multiple source activities inside the human brain, we observed a significant DMS-specific suppression of the auditory evoked response to the second stimulus in a sound pair, with the center of the effect being located in the vicinity of the left auditory cortex. For the right auditory cortex, a non-invariant suppression effect was observed in both DMS and control tasks. Furthermore, analysis of coherence revealed a beta band (12∼20 Hz) DMS-specific enhanced functional interaction between the sources in left auditory cortex and those in left inferior frontal gyrus, which has been shown to be involved in short-term memory processing during the delay period of DMS task. Our findings support the view that early evoked cortical responses to incoming acoustic stimuli can be modulated by task-specific cognitive functions by means of frontal–temporal functional interactions.

Keywords: task-specificity, cognitive modulation, auditory evoked response, MEG, functional interaction

Citation: Rong F, Holroyd T, Husain FT, Contreras-Vidal JL, and Horwitz B (2011) Task-specific modulation of human auditory evoked response in a delayed-match-to-sample task. Front. Psychology 2:85. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00085

Received: 04 January 2011; Accepted: 21 April 2011;
Published online: 09 May 2011.

Edited by:

Anne-Lise Giraud, INSERM-Ecole Normale Supérieure, France

Reviewed by:

Jonas Obleser, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Germany
Huan Luo, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China

Copyright: © 2011 Rong, Holroyd, Husain, Contreras-Vidal and Horwitz. This is an open-access article subject to a non-exclusive license between the authors and Frontiers Media SA, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and other Frontiers conditions are complied with.

*Correspondence: Barry Horwitz, Brain Imaging and Modeling Section, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health, Building 10, Room 5D39 10 Center Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA. e-mail: horwitzb@nidcd.nih.gov