Proximal vocal threat recruits the right voice-sensitive auditory cortex

Ceravolo, Leonardo

In: Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, ///-

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    The accurate estimation of the proximity of threat is important for biological survival and to assess relevant events of everyday life. We addressed the question of whether proximal as compared with distal vocal threat would lead to a perceptual advantage for the perceiver. Accordingly, we sought to highlight the neural mechanisms underlying the perception of proximal vs distal threatening vocal signals by the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging. Although we found that the inferior parietal and superior temporal cortex of human listeners generally decoded the spatial proximity of auditory vocalizations, activity in the right voice-sensitive auditory cortex was specifically enhanced for proximal aggressive relative to distal aggressive voices as compared with neutral voices. Our results shed new light on the processing of imminent danger signaled by proximal vocal threat and show the crucial involvement of the right mid voice-sensitive auditory cortex in such processing.