Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
It has been suggested that both the posterior parietal cortex (PPC) and the extrastriate occipital cortex (OC) participate in the spatial processing of sounds. However, the precise time-course of their contribution remains unknown, which is of particular interest, considering that it could give new insights into the mechanisms underlying auditory space perception. To address this issue, we have used event-related transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to induce virtual lesions of either the right PPC or right OC at different delays in subjects performing a sound lateralization task. Our results confirmed that these two areas participate in the spatial processing of sounds. More precisely, we found that TMS applied over the right OC 50 msec after the stimulus onset significantly impaired the localization of sounds presented either to the right or to the left side. Moreover, right PPC virtual lesions induced 100 and 150 msec after sound presentation led to a rightward bias for stimuli delivered on the center and on the left side, reproducing transiently the deficits commonly observed in hemineglect patients. The finding that the right OC is involved in sound processing before the right PPC suggests that the OC exerts a feedforward influence on the PPC during auditory spatial processing.