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Neural processing and perception of Schroeder‐phase harmonic tone complexes in the gerbil: Relating single‐unit neurophysiology to behavior

Citation

Steenken, Friederike et al. (2022), Neural processing and perception of Schroeder‐phase harmonic tone complexes in the gerbil: Relating single‐unit neurophysiology to behavior, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.0gb5mkm17

Abstract

Schroeder-phase harmonic tone complexes have been used in physiological and psychophysical studies in several species to gain insight into cochlear function. Each pitch period of the Schroeder stimulus contains a linear frequency sweep; the duty cycle, sweep velocity, and direction are controlled by parameters of the phase spectrum. Here, responses to a range of Schroeder-phase harmonic tone complexes were studied both behaviorally and in neural recordings from the auditory nerve and inferior colliculus of Mongolian gerbils. Gerbils were able to discriminate Schroeder-phase harmonic tone complexes based on sweep direction, duty cycle, and/or velocity for fundamental frequencies up to 200 Hz. Temporal representation in neural responses based on the van Rossum spike-distance metric, with time constants of either 1 ms or related to the stimulus’ period, was compared to average discharge rates. Neural responses and behavioral performance were both expressed in terms of sensitivity, d’, to allow direct comparisons. Our results suggest that in the auditory nerve, stimulus fine structure is represented by spike timing while envelope is represented by rate. In the inferior colliculus, both temporal fine structure and envelope appear to be represented best by rate. However, correlations between neural d’ values and behavioral sensitivity for sweep direction were strongest for both temporal metrics, for both auditory nerve and inferior colliculus. Furthermore, the high sensitivity observed in the inferior colliculus neural rate-based discrimination suggests that these neurons integrate across multiple inputs arising from the auditory periphery.

Funding

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Award: PP 1608, EXC 1077/1

National Institutes of Health, Award: NIH-R01-001641