Intermodal selective attention: Evidence for processing in tonotopic auditory fields

David L Woods, K. Alho, A. Algazi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Auditory event-related brain potentials (ERPs) were recorded for 250- and 4,000-Hz tone bursts in an intermodal selective attention task. Tonotopic changes were evident in the scalp distribution of the rising phase of the auditory N1 (mean peak latency 116 ms); the N1 was more frontally distributed following the 4,000-Hz than following the 250-Hz tone bursts, and it included a contralateral P90 component that was absent following 250-Hz tones. ERPs related to intermodal selective attention were isolated as negative and positive auditory difference waves (Nd(a)s and Pd(a)s). Neither the Nd(a) nor the Pd(a) showed changes in distribution with tone frequency, but both showed Ear x Frequency changes in distribution. ERPs for deviant tones included mismatch negativities (MMNs) and, in attend auditory conditions, N2b and P3 components. These components did not change in scalp distribution with tone frequency. One possible explanation is that tonotopic displacements of ERP distributions on the scalp surface depend on angular displacements in generator fields on gyral convexities. The results are consistent with the possibility that auditory processing radiates outward with increasing latency from tonotopic fields on Heschl's gyri to more gyrus-free regions of the planun temporale and anterior superior temporal plane.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-295
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1993


  • Attention
  • Auditory
  • Cortex
  • Event-related potential
  • Intermodal
  • Tonotopic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Psychology(all)
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Intermodal selective attention: Evidence for processing in tonotopic auditory fields'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this