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date: 05 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The social interactions of many animals critically depend on identifying other individuals to interact with or avoid. Recognizing specific individuals by voice requires extracting auditory indexical cues in communication signals, such as the voice-identity related content in vocalizations. Moreover, recognizing individuals can be facilitated by combining different forms of sensory inputs, such as when a vocalization is heard while the corresponding facial expression is seen. Our understanding of the neuronal substrates involved in processing voice content in communication sounds has been steadily increasing: neurobiological insights are now available not only from human neuroimaging studies but also from comparative neuroimaging data in non-human animals, which together identify the cross-species correspondences that can be made between voice-sensitive brain regions. The insights obtained using brain functional imaging have also had the added benefit of establishing certain animals as model systems in which neuronal processes and pathways can be interrogated at finer neurobiological scales than is possible in humans. The use of bridging neuroimaging techniques in humans and other animals allows the neuronal-level insights obtained in animal models to better translate to and inform the understanding of homologous processes in the human brain. This chapter provides an overview of these developments, summarizing knowledge on the functional characteristics of voice-sensitive neurons and on cortical pathways that integrate auditory voice with visual face input. It highlights how some of the gaps in our understanding have begun to close and identifies empirical challenges that remain on the horizon.

Keywords: voice, face, human, monkey, neurons, neuroimaging, fMRI, extracellular electrophysiology, multisensory, identity

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