< Back to previous page


Tonotopic Selectivity in Cats and Humans: Electrophysiology and Psychophysics

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

We describe a scalp-recorded measure of tonotopic selectivity, the "cortical onset response" (COR) and compare the results between humans and cats. The COR results, in turn, were compared with psychophysical masked-detection thresholds obtained using similar stimuli and obtained from both species. The COR consisted of averaged responses elicited by 50-ms tone-burst probes presented at 1-s intervals against a continuous noise masker. The noise masker had a bandwidth of 1 or 1/8th octave, geometrically centred on 4000 Hz for humans and on 8000 Hz for cats. The probe frequency was either - 0.5, - 0.25, 0, 0.25 or 0.5 octaves re the masker centre frequency. The COR was larger for probe frequencies more distant from the centre frequency of the masker, and this effect was greater for the 1/8th-octave than for the 1-octave masker. This pattern broadly reflected the masked excitation patterns obtained psychophysically with similar stimuli in both species. However, the positive signal-to-noise ratio used to obtain reliable COR measures meant that some aspects of the data differed from those obtained psychophysically, in a way that could be partly explained by the upward spread of the probe's excitation pattern. Our psychophysical measurements also showed that the auditory filter width obtained at 8000 Hz using notched-noise maskers was slightly wider in cat than previous measures from humans. We argue that although conclusions from COR measures differ in some ways from conclusions based on psychophysics, the COR measures provide an objective, noninvasive, valid measure of tonotopic selectivity that does not require training and that may be applied to acoustic and cochlear-implant experiments in humans and laboratory animals.
Journal: Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology
ISSN: 1525-3961
Issue: 4
Volume: 23
Pages: 513 - 534
Publication year:2022