ENS, Salle des Éléments, 24 rue Lhomond, 75005 Paris
The world teems with complex sounds that animals have to interpret in order to survive. To do so, their brain must represent the richness of the sounds' acoustic structure, from simple to high-order features. Understanding how it does it, however, remains filled with challenges. In this thesis, these questions were explored through a new technical prism, namely functional UltraSound imaging (fUSi). First, fUSi was used to investigate with a high fidelity the topographical organization of the auditory system, as well as its connectivity with other brain areas. Second, it provided fundamental clues for our understanding of how natural sounds are encoded in the auditory cortex, and hints at the human particularities for speech processing. Last, it gave us access to non-continuous topographical encoding, with the example of spatial localization. Through these three aspects, we exposed the different spatially organized modules of processing that overlap within a single brain area.