Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

An information theoretic characterisation of auditory encoding

Lookup NU author(s): Tobias Overath, Dr Sukhbinder Kumar, Dr Katherina von Kriegstein, Dr Jason Warren, Dr Manon Grube, Professor Tim GriffithsORCiD



The entropy metric derived from information theory provides a means to quantify the amount of information transmitted in acoustic streams like speech or music. By systematically varying the entropy of pitch sequences, we sought brain areas where neural activity and energetic demands increase as a function of entropy. Such a relationship is predicted to occur in an efficient encoding mechanism that uses less computational resource when less information is present in the signal: we specifically tested the hypothesis that such a relationship is present in the planum temporale (PT). In two convergent functional MRI studies, we demonstrated this relationship in PT for encoding, while furthermore showing that a distributed fronto-parietal network for retrieval of acoustic information is independent of entropy. The results establish PT as an efficient neural engine that demands less computational resource to encode redundant signals than those with high information content. © 2007 Overath et al.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Overath T, Cusack R, Kumar S, Von Kriegstein K, Warren JD, Grube M, Carlyon RP, Griffiths TD

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: PLoS Biology

Year: 2007

Volume: 5

Issue: 11

Pages: e288 (2723-2732)

Print publication date: 01/11/2007

ISSN (print): 1544-9173

ISSN (electronic): 1545-7885

Publisher: Public Library of Science


DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0050288


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric


Funder referenceFunder name
Wellcome Trust
MC_U105559842Medical Research Council
MC_U105592690Medical Research Council