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Title: Distinct higher-order representations of natural sounds in human and ferret auditory cortex
Little is known about how neural representations of natural sounds differ across species. For example, speech and music play a unique role in human hearing, yet it is unclear how auditory representations of speech and music differ between humans and other animals. Using functional ultrasound imaging, we measured responses in ferrets to a set of natural and spectrotemporally matched synthetic sounds previously tested in humans. Ferrets showed similar lower-level frequency and modulation tuning to that observed in humans. But while humans showed substantially larger responses to natural vs. synthetic speech and music in non-primary regions, ferret responses to natural and synthetic sounds were closely matched throughout primary and non-primary auditory cortex, even when tested with ferret vocalizations. This finding reveals that auditory representations in humans and ferrets diverge sharply at late stages of cortical processing, potentially driven by higher-order processing demands in speech and music.  more » « less
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National Science Foundation
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