Common networks for selective auditory attention for sounds and words? An fMRI study with implications for attention rehabilitation
Purpose: In an fMRI study the functional networks involved in auditory selective attention for sounds and words were investigated. Methods: 24 healthy volunteers (12 male, 12 female) had to respond to a category of targets (animal sounds vs. musical instruments, spoken names of instruments vs. animals; 6 targets, 12 nontargets) presented via headphones. Results: Under both the sound and word condition besides left superior and middle temporal lobe activation there was bilateral activity in the superior frontal (including the anterior cingulate cortex ACC), middle and inferior frontal and inferior parietal lobes. Under both conditions we also found cerebellar activity. In general there was a high overlap of the related attention networks for both conditions. Conclusions: The activation patterns revealed a high overlap across stimulus conditions with only slight modulation caused by the quality of the auditory material. For rehabilitation of attention deficits after brain damage this implicates that a single training procedure might address a common network for selective attention deficits under different stimulus conditions.