Different neural frequency bands integrate faces and voices differently in the superior temporal sulcus

Chandramouli Chandrasekaran, Asif A. Ghazanfar

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74 Scopus citations


The integration of auditory and visual information is required for the default mode of speech-face-to-face communication. As revealed by functional magnetic resonance imaging and electrophysiological studies, the regions in and around the superior temporal sulcus (STS) are implicated in this process. To provide greater insights into the network-level dynamics of the STS during audiovisual integration, we used a macaque model system to analyze the different frequency bands of local field potential (LFP) responses to the auditory and visual components of vocalizations. These vocalizations (like human speech) have a natural time delay between the onset of visible mouth movements and the onset of the voice (the "time-to-voice" or TTV). We show that the LFP responses to faces and voices elicit distinct bands of activity in the theta (4-8 Hz), alpha (8-14 Hz), and gamma (>40 Hz) frequency ranges. Along with single neuron responses, the gamma band activity was greater for face stimuli than voice stimuli. Surprisingly, the opposite was true for the low-frequency bands - auditory responses were of a greater magnitude. Furthermore, gamma band responses in STS were sustained for dynamic faces but not so for voices (the opposite is true for auditory cortex). These data suggest that visual and auditory stimuli are processed in fundamentally different ways in the STS. Finally, we show that the three bands integrate faces and voices differently: theta band activity showed weak multisensory behavior regardless of TTV, the alpha band activity was enhanced for calls with short TTVs but showed little integration for longer TTVs, and finally, the gamma band activity was consistently enhanced for all TTVs. These data demonstrate that LFP activity from the STS can be segregated into distinct frequency bands which integrate audiovisual communication signals in an independent manner. These different bands may reflect different spatial scales of network processing during face-to-face communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)773-788
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • Physiology


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