Hierarchical cortical networks of "voice patches" for processing voices in human brain

Yang Zhang, Yue Ding, Juan Huang, Wenjing Zhou, Zhipei Ling, Bo Hong, Xiaoqin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Humans have an extraordinary ability to recognize and differentiate voices. It is yet unclear whether voices are uniquely processed in the human brain. To explore the underlying neural mechanisms of voice processing, we recorded electrocorticographic signals from intracranial electrodes in epilepsy patients while they listened to six different categories of voice and nonvoice sounds. Subregions in the temporal lobe exhibited preferences for distinct voice stimuli, which were defined as "voice patches." Latency analyses suggested a dual hierarchical organization of the voice patches. We also found that voice patches were functionally connected under both task-engaged and resting states. Furthermore, the left motor areas were coactivated and correlated with the temporal voice patches during the sound-listening task. Taken together, this work reveals hierarchical cortical networks in the human brain for processing human voices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2113887118
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number52
StatePublished - Dec 28 2021


  • Dual pathway
  • ECoG
  • Human brain
  • Voice patch

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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