Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 318–328 | Cite as

Cortical regions activated by the subjective sense of perceptual coherence of environmental sounds: A proposal for a neuroscience of intuition

  • Kirsten G. Volz
  • Rudolf Rübsamen
  • D. Yves von Cramon


According to the Oxford English Dictionary, intuition is “the ability to understand or know something immediately, without conscious reasoning.” In other words, people continuously, without conscious attention, recognize patterns in the stream of sensations that impinge upon them. The result is a vague perception of coherence, which subsequently biases thought and behavior accordingly. Within the visual domain, research using paradigms with difficult recognition has suggested that the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) serves as a fast detector and predictor of potential content that utilizes coarse facets of the input. To investigate whether the OFC is crucial in biasing task-specific processing, and hence subserves intuitive judgments in various modalities, we used a difficult-recognition paradigm in the auditory domain. Participants were presented with short sequences of distorted, nonverbal, environmental sounds and had to perform a sound categorization task. Imaging results revealed rostral medial OFC activation for such auditory intuitive coherence judgments. By means of a conjunction analysis between the present results and those from a previous study on visual intuitive coherence judgments, the rostral medial OFC was shown to be activated via both modalities. We conclude that rostral OFC activation during intuitive coherence judgments subserves the detection of potential content on the basis of only coarse facets of the input.


Orbitofrontal Cortex Superior Temporal Gyrus Anterior Insula Middle Temporal Gyrus Sound Stimulus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kirsten G. Volz
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rudolf Rübsamen
    • 3
  • D. Yves von Cramon
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Max Planck Institute for Neurological ResearchCologneGermany
  2. 2.Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain SciencesLeipzigGermany
  3. 3.University of LeipzigLeipzigGermany

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