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The human Voice Areas: spatial organisation and inter-individual variability in temporal and extra-temporal cortices

FMRI studies increasingly examine functions and properties of non-primary areas of human auditory cortex. However there is currently no standardized localization procedure to reliably identify specific areas across individuals such as the standard 'localizers' available in the visual domain. Here we present an fMRI 'voice localizer' scan allowing rapid and reliable localization of the voice-sensitive 'temporal voice areas' (TVA) of human auditory cortex. We describe results obtained using this standardized localizer scan in a large cohort of normal adult subjects. Most participants (94%) showed bilateral patches of significantly greater response to vocal than non-vocal sounds along the superior temporal sulcus/gyrus (STS/STG). Individual activation patterns, although reproducible, showed high inter-individual variability in precise anatomical location. Cluster analysis of individual peaks from the large cohort highlighted three bilateral clusters of voice-sensitivity, or "voice patches" along posterior (TVAp), mid (TVAm) and anterior (TVAa) STS/STG, respectively. A series of extra-temporal areas including bilateral inferior prefrontal cortex and amygdalae showed small, but reliable voice sensitivity as part of a large-scale cerebral voice network. Stimuli for the voice localizer scan and probabilistic maps in MNI space are available for download.


  • Fleming, D
  • Watson, RH
  • Bestelmeyer, PEG
  • Charest, I
  • Latinus, M
  • Valdes-Sosa, M
  • Gorgolewski, KJ
  • McAleer, P
  • Belin, P
  • Pernet, CR

Acknowledgements and Funding:

Data collection was supported by BBSRC grants BB/E003958/1, BBJ003654/1 and BB/I022287/1, ESRC-MRC large grant RES-060-25-0010.

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The human voice areas: Spatial organization and inter-individual variability in temporal and extra-temporal cortices.

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Siemens Tim Trio 3T


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In addition to any citation requirements in the dataset summary please use the following to cite this dataset:

This data was obtained from the OpenfMRI database. Its accession number is ds000158



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Revision: 1.0.1 Date Set: Dec. 22, 2016, 9:30 p.m.


- Converted to BIDS format
- Subtracted 1 from each subject number to allow subject numbers to start at 001
- Added events file

Revision: 1.0.0 Date Set: Aug. 23, 2016, 10:42 p.m.


- Initial release