Use of time differences in normal hearing - Cortical processing of promontorial stimuli

Malene Vejby Mortensen, Stig Madsen, Albert Gjedde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


To test the hypothesis that ability to discriminate small duration differences is positively correlated with activity in the right temporal lobe, we used positron emission tomography in six normally hearing subjects, stimulated via the promontory in a procedure that mimics the auditory nerve stimulation with a cochlear implant. Stimulus consisted of electrical bursts, and tasks included gap detection and temporal difference limen (TDL). TDL is a measure of discriminatory processing of sound duration in cochlear implant candidates, demonstrated to predict outcome. Good speech perception after cochlear implantation is associated with activity in right temporal areas. Although perceived variably by the subjects, the stimulus itself activated bilateral secondary somatosensory cortex, suggesting differential stimulation of multiple sensory modalities. Only TDL raised blood flow in both posterior middle temporal gyri (MTG) and the right prefrontal cortex. As the right posterior MTG is known to be active during duration discrimination of different modalities and in the perception of words containing manipulated phonemes, we conclude that recruitment of this part of the right hemisphere is important to the comprehension of speech containing mostly temporal cues. The study shows that stimulus-induced activation reflects the goal of the task rather than the nature of the stimulus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-101
Number of pages8
JournalHearing Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jul 2005


  • Duration discrimination
  • PET
  • Promontory
  • Somatosensory cortex
  • Speech perception
  • Stimulation
  • Temporal analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


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