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Full Access A neural link between feeling and hearing

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A neural link between feeling and hearing

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image of Seeing and Perceiving
For more content, see Multisensory Research and Spatial Vision.

Hearing and feeling both rely upon the transduction of physical events into frequency-based neural codes, suggesting that the auditory system may be intimately related to the somatosensory system. In this study, we provide evidence that the neural substrates for audition and somatosensation are anatomically linked. Using diffusion tensor imaging with both deterministic and probabilistic tractography to measure white matter connectivity, we show that there are extensive connections between the primary auditory cortex and the primary and secondary somatosensory regions in human cerebral cortex. We further show that these cross-connections are diminished between auditory and primary somatosensory cortex and exaggerated between auditory and secondary somatosensory cortex in the lesioned hemisphere of a patient (SR) with acquired auditory-tactile synesthesia, in whom sounds alone produce bodily sensations. These results provide an anatomical basis for multisensory interactions between audition and somatosensation and suggest that cross-talk between these regions may explain why some sounds, such as nails screeching down a chalkboard or an audible mosquito, can induce feelings of touch, especially on the left half of patient SR.

Affiliations: 1: 1The City College and Graduate Center of the City University of New York, US; 2: 2University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston, US

Hearing and feeling both rely upon the transduction of physical events into frequency-based neural codes, suggesting that the auditory system may be intimately related to the somatosensory system. In this study, we provide evidence that the neural substrates for audition and somatosensation are anatomically linked. Using diffusion tensor imaging with both deterministic and probabilistic tractography to measure white matter connectivity, we show that there are extensive connections between the primary auditory cortex and the primary and secondary somatosensory regions in human cerebral cortex. We further show that these cross-connections are diminished between auditory and primary somatosensory cortex and exaggerated between auditory and secondary somatosensory cortex in the lesioned hemisphere of a patient (SR) with acquired auditory-tactile synesthesia, in whom sounds alone produce bodily sensations. These results provide an anatomical basis for multisensory interactions between audition and somatosensation and suggest that cross-talk between these regions may explain why some sounds, such as nails screeching down a chalkboard or an audible mosquito, can induce feelings of touch, especially on the left half of patient SR.

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/content/journals/10.1163/187847612x646776
2012-01-01
2016-12-04

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