Distributed cortical networks for focused auditory attention and distraction

Teemu Rinne, Siiri Kirjavainen, Oili Salonen, Alexander Degerman, Xiaojian Kang, David L Woods, Kimmo Alho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


We used behavioral measures and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study the effects of parametrically varied task-irrelevant pitch changes in attended sounds on loudness-discrimination performance and brain activity in cortical surface maps. Ten subjects discriminated tone loudness in sequences that also included infrequent task-irrelevant pitch changes. Consistent with results of previous studies, the task-irrelevant pitch changes impaired performance in the loudness discrimination task. Auditory stimulation, attention-enhanced processing of sounds and motor responding during the loudness discrimination task activated supratemporal (auditory cortex) and inferior parietal areas bilaterally and left-hemisphere (contralateral to the hand used for responding) motor areas. Large pitch changes were associated with right hemisphere supratemporal activations as well as widespread bilateral activations in the frontal lobe and along the intraparietal sulcus. Loudness discrimination and distracting pitch changes activated common areas in the right supratemporal gyrus, left medial frontal cortex, left precentral gyrus, and left inferior parietal cortex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-251
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 18 2007


  • Attention
  • Auditory processing
  • Change detection
  • Distraction
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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