Distinct short-term memory systems for sound content and sound localization

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SHORT-TERM memory for sound content and sound localization was investigated in normal subjects using the same/different comparison of two sound stimuli separated by an interval. Auditory or visual interference tasks requiring recognition or spatial judgements were introduced in the interval. Auditory interference tasks reduced memory for sound content and sound location in a specific way. Memory for sound content was significantly more reduced by auditory recognition than by auditory spatial interference task. Visual interference tasks reduced significantly memory for sound location but not for sound content. These results suggest that (i) short-term memory for sound content and that for sound location involve partially distinct processing; and (ii) auditory spatial functions are more closely linked to visual functions than auditory recognition.

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