Brain Structure and Function

, Volume 222, Issue 1, pp 267–285

Meta-analytic connectivity modeling of the human superior temporal sulcus

  • Laura C. Erickson
  • Josef P. Rauschecker
  • Peter E. Turkeltaub
Original Article


The superior temporal sulcus (STS) is a critical region for multiple neural processes in the human brain Hein and Knight (J Cogn Neurosci 20(12): 2125–2136, 2008). To better understand the multiple functions of the STS it would be useful to know more about its consistent functional coactivations with other brain regions. We used the meta-analytic connectivity modeling technique to determine consistent functional coactivation patterns across experiments and behaviors associated with bilateral anterior, middle, and posterior anatomical STS subregions. Based on prevailing models for the cortical organization of audition and language, we broadly hypothesized that across various behaviors the posterior STS (pSTS) would coactivate with dorsal-stream regions, whereas the anterior STS (aSTS) would coactivate with ventral-stream regions. The results revealed distinct coactivation patterns for each STS subregion, with some overlap in the frontal and temporal areas, and generally similar coactivation patterns for the left and right STS. Quantitative comparison of STS subregion coactivation maps demonstrated that the pSTS coactivated more strongly than other STS subregions in the same hemisphere with dorsal-stream regions, such as the inferior parietal lobule (only left pSTS), homotopic pSTS, precentral gyrus and supplementary motor area. In contrast, the aSTS showed more coactivation with some ventral-stream regions, such as the homotopic anterior temporal cortex and left inferior frontal gyrus, pars orbitalis (only right aSTS). These findings demonstrate consistent coactivation maps across experiments and behaviors for different anatomical STS subregions, which may help future studies consider various STS functions in the broader context of generalized coactivations for individuals with and without neurological disorders.


Superior temporal sulcus Coactivation Meta-analytic connectivity modeling Connectivity Network Dorsal stream 

Supplementary material

429_2016_1215_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (58 kb)
Supplemental Table 1. Behavioral analysis of STS ROIs. Behavioral categories were statistically over-represented in the ROI if Z scores were ≥ 3.0, suggesting that the behavioral category had more clustering of foci than predicted by equal distribution of all foci across the brain (see Lancaster et al. (2012) for more details on this method). This analysis was conducted on 12-4-2015 after the original BrainMap search, and these results reflect a different composition of behavioral categories as the BrainMap database has likely changed since the original search, e.g., more experiments added. While this analysis demonstrates that certain behaviors engage these ROIs more often than the rest of the brain, Tables 2 and 3 demonstrate that our dataset includes experiments involving a wide variety of behaviors. Thus, the MACM results reflect general patterns of coactivation across experiments and behaviors. This is supported by STS coactivation findings that are consistent not only with auditory/language models, but also other cognitive functions involving the STS (See Discussion). (PDF 57 kb)
429_2016_1215_MOESM2_ESM.tif (39.8 mb)
Supplemental Fig. 1. The comparison of posterior STS in the left and right hemispheres. The LpSTS (purple) had more coactivation than the RpSTS in areas such as the left IFG and left anterior STG. In contrast, the RpSTS (red) had greater coactivation compared to the LpSTS in areas such as right precentral gyrus and right supramarginal gyrus. (TIFF 40742 kb)
429_2016_1215_MOESM3_ESM.tif (38.4 mb)
Supplemental Fig. 2. The comparison of middle STS in the left and right hemispheres. The LmSTS (yellow) had more coactivation compared to the RmSTS in regions such as the left IFG and left posterior MTG. In contrast, the RmSTS (green) compared to the LmSTS had more coactivation in multiple regions, such as bilateral subcortical regions, bilateral precentral/postcentral gyrus, bilateral IPL, and left calcarine cortex. (TIFF 39292 kb)
429_2016_1215_MOESM4_ESM.tif (42.7 mb)
Supplemental Fig. 3. The comparison of anterior STS in the left and right hemispheres. The LaSTS (light blue) as compared to the RaSTS had more coactivation only in left posterior MTG. In contrast, the RaSTS (dark blue) as compared to the LaSTS had more coactivation in bilateral posterior STG and left postcentral gyrus. (TIFF 43683 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura C. Erickson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Josef P. Rauschecker
    • 2
    • 3
  • Peter E. Turkeltaub
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Neurology DepartmentGeorgetown University Medical CenterWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Neuroscience DepartmentGeorgetown University Medical CenterWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.Institute for Advanced StudyTechnische Universität MünchenGarching bei MünchenGermany
  4. 4.Research DivisionMedStar National Rehabilitation HospitalWashingtonUSA

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