Neural substrates for recognition of familiar voices: A PET study

Katsuki Nakamura, Ryuta Kawashima, Motoaki Sugiura, Takashi Kato, Akinori Nakamura, Kentaro Hatano, Sumiharu Nagumo, Kisou Kubota, Hiroshi Fukuda, Kengo Ito, Shozo Kojima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

181 Citations (Scopus)


Identification of familiar people is essential in our social life. We can identify familiar people by hearing their voices as well as by viewing their faces. By measuring regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) by positron emission tomography (PET), we identified neural substrates for the recognition of familiar voices. The brain activity during discrimination of voices of the subjects' associates and friends from those of unfamiliar people was compared with that during an analogous discrimination of their own voice from unfamiliar voices as well as during vowel discrimination. The left frontal pole, right temporal pole, right entorhinal cortex, and left precuneus were activated to a greater extent during discrimination of familiar voice than during control discriminations, suggesting that these brain regions are involved in the recognition of familiar voices. Furthermore, the adjusted values of rCBF in the left frontal pole and right temporal pole correlated with the number of subjects' correct identification of familiar voices. The present results suggest that these two regions are coactively associated with matching the currently heard voice to familiar voices in one's memory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1047-1054
Number of pages8
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2001 Jun 1


  • Frontal pole
  • PET
  • Recognition
  • Temporal pole
  • Voice


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