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The organization of the cortical auditory system remains controversial. In particular, the extent to which there is regional specialization in the cortical processing of complex sound is unclear. Here, we ask whether we are currently asking the right questions of auditory cortex, or using the appropriate techniques to do so. A key factor that will promote such understanding in the future will be increasing dialogue between workers using electrophysiological recording methods to assess the response properties of single neurons and those using imaging techniques to map regional organization. In the future, further insights will be obtained by efforts to test hypotheses developed on the basis of one approach by the use of the other. Imaging can tell the neurophysiologists where to look, and work on single neurons can constrain network models based on imaging. There is a crucial need for better understanding of the anatomy of the auditory cortex in different species and for comparative studies that will underpin both approaches.

Original publication




Journal article


Trends Neurosci

Publication Date





181 - 185


Acoustic Stimulation, Animals, Auditory Cortex, Brain Mapping, Humans, Mental Processes, Neural Pathways, Neurons, Sound