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 AG Basic mechanisms of auditory pattern recognition

 Mechanisms of sound detection and discrimination

Project description:

A prerequisite for further analysis, recognition, and discrimination of sounds by the brain´s auditory system is their detection, and a thorough understanding of the system´s operation requires knowledge of how detection thresholds are mediated. The long-term project aims to better understand the processes mediating monaural and binaural detection thresholds, in both normal-hearing and hearing-impaired ears. Detailed measurements of human detection thresholds to a variety of sounds, partly combined with EEG, of reaction times, and of mammalian auditory-nerve fiber responses, along with modeling, are used to unravel the physiological mechanisms underlying sound detection. Based on our extensive data, we proposed a new probabilistic model of sound detection. The validity of the model is tested further and it will be expanded into the spectral domain. The applicability of the model for sound discrimination is currently also explored.

Figure: An improved model for the rate-level of auditory-nerve fibers (a,b) according to which the spike rate grows with stimulus amplitude (added to a baseline P0) following a Hill equation with Hill coefficient 3. The model provides excellent fits to experimental data (c, d). The Hill coefficient of 3 might originate from the Ca2+ co-operativity of the sensor mediating fast exocytosis from inner hair cells (modified from Heil et al., J Neurosci 2011).


Björn Friedrich, Heinrich Neubauer, Gabriele Schöps, Benedikt Zoefel (Department Auditory Learning & Speech)
Prof. Dr. Jesko L Verhey (Department of Experimental Audiology, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg)
Prof. Dexter RF Irvine (Bionic Institute, Melbourne, Australia)


Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft SFB/TRR 31 (2005-2017) Project A6 to Heil P: Processing and recognition of the temporal pattern of acoustic signals in the auditory system

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft He1721/7-1 (2004-2006) to Heil P: Zeitliche Integration der Druckeinhüllenden als Basis auditorisch evozierter Potentiale und der Lautheitswahrnehmung

GEERS-Stiftung S30-10.016 (2005-2006) to Heil P: Psychoakustische Untersuchungen zur Ursache gestörter zeitlicher Integration und ihrer Konsequenzen

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft He1721/4-2 (2002-2004) to Heil P: Temporal summation and its neuronal basis in the central auditory system

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft He1721/5-1 & He1721/5-2 (2000 and 2001) to Heil P: Role of cochlear non-linearities for aspects of temporal summmation by auditory-nerve fibers

Some key publications:

Heil P, Neubauer H, Tetschke M, Irvine DRF (2013) A probabilistic model of absolute auditory thresholds and its possible physiological basis. In: Basic Aspects of Hearing: Physiology and Perception (Eds. Moore BCJ, Patterson RD, Winter IM, Carlyon RP, Gockel HE) Springer, New York, 21-29

Zoefel B, Heil, P (2013) Detection of near-threshold sounds is independent of EEG phase. Frontiers in Psychology 4:262. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.0026

Heil P, Verhey JL, Zoefel B (2013) Modelling detection thresholds for sounds repeated at different delays. Hearing Research 296: 83-95

Heil P, Neubauer H, Irvine DRF (2011) An improved model for the rate-level functions of auditory-nerve fibers. Journal of Neuroscience 31:15424-15347

Heil P, Neubauer H (2010) Summing across different active zones can explain the quasi-linear Ca2+-dependencies of exocytosis by receptor cells. Frontiers in Synaptic Neuroscience 2: 148. doi: 10.3389/fnsyn.2010.00148. (featured in Faculty1000 by PA Fuchs)

Neubauer H, Heil P (2008) A physiological model for the stimulus-dependence of first-spike latency of auditory-nerve fibers. Brain Research 1220: 208-223

Heil P, Neubauer H, Brown M, Irvine DRF (2008) Towards a unifying basis of auditory thresholds: distributions of the first-spike latencies of auditory-nerve fibers. Hearing Research 238: 25-38

Heil P, Neubauer H, Tiefenau A, von Specht H (2006) Comparison of absolute thresholds derived from an adaptive forced-choice procedure and from reaction probabilities and reaction times in a simple reaction time paradigm. Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology 7: 279-298

Tiefenau A, Neubauer H, von Specht H, Heil P (2006) Correcting for false alarms in a simple reaction time task. Brain Research 1122: 99-115

Heil P (2004) First-spike latency of auditory neurons revisited. Current Opinion in Neurobiology 14: 461-467

Neubauer H, Heil P (2004) Towards a unifying basis of auditory thresholds: the effects of hearing loss on temporal integration reconsidered. Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology 5:436-458

Heil P, Neubauer H (2004) New insights into absolute thresholds of normal and hearing-impaired ears. Audiological Acoustics 43:188-195

Heil P, Neubauer H (2003) A unifying basis of auditory thresholds based on temporal summation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 100 (10): 6151-6156

Heil P, Neubauer H (2001) Temporal integration of sound pressure determines thresholds of auditory-nerve fibers. Journal of Neuroscience 21:7404-7415 (featured in Faculty1000)

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