Functional and Structural Correlates of Auditory Abilities: Predispositions and Plasticity
In this lecture I will review findings from our lab and others regarding the relationship between anatomical features of human auditory cortex and the functions it subserves. I start with a consideration of functional specializations, including hemispheric differences in basic auditory processing, and the consequences these factors may have for the processing of speech and musical signals. We then consider anatomical asymmetries in auditory cortex, and how they may relate to the functional differences that exist. Our most recent studies have explored how these anatomical and functional features may be predictive of performance on perceptual and learning tasks, and how they may be modified after sensory deprivation. The findings overall indicate a consistent relationship between individual differences in cortical anatomy or function, and behavioral abilities in both the speech and the music domain. I discuss how these effects may be understood in the context of plasticity and of predispositions.