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On the mechanism of response latencies in auditory nerve fibers

Huang, Ethan and Durrant, John and Boston, J. Robert (2011) On the mechanism of response latencies in auditory nerve fibers. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Despite the structural differences of the middle and inner ears, the latency pattern in auditory nerve fibers to an identical sound has been found similar across numerous species. Studies have shown the similarity in remarkable species with distinct cochleae or even without a basilar membrane. This stimulus-, neuron-, and species- independent similarity of latency cannot be simply explained by the concept of cochlear traveling waves that is generally accepted as the main cause of the neural latency pattern.

An original concept of Fourier pattern is defined, intended to characterize a feature of temporal processing—specifically phase encoding—that is not readily apparent in more conventional analyses. The pattern is created by marking the first amplitude maximum for each sinusoid component of the stimulus, to encode phase information. The hypothesis is that the hearing organ serves as a running analyzer whose output reflects synchronization of auditory neural activity consistent with the Fourier pattern.

A combined research of experimental, correlational and meta-analysis approaches is used to test the hypothesis. Manipulations included phase encoding and stimuli to test their effects on the predicted latency pattern. Animal studies in the literature using the same stimulus were then compared to determine the degree of relationship.

The results show that each marking accounts for a large percentage of a corresponding peak latency in the peristimulus-time histogram. For each of the stimuli considered, the latency predicted by the Fourier pattern is highly correlated with the observed latency in the auditory nerve fiber of representative species.

The results suggest that the hearing organ analyzes not only amplitude spectrum but also phase information in Fourier analysis, to distribute the specific spikes among auditory nerve fibers and within a single unit.

This phase-encoding mechanism in Fourier analysis is proposed to be the common mechanism that, in the face of species differences in peripheral auditory hardware, accounts for the considerable similarities across species in their latency-by-frequency functions, in turn assuring optimal phase encoding across species. Also, the mechanism has the potential to improve phase encoding of cochlear implants.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Huang, Ethanish3@pitt.eduISH3
Durrant, Johndurrant@pitt.eduDURRANT
Boston, J. Robertbbn@pitt.eduBBN
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairDurrant, Johndurrant@pitt.eduDURRANT
Committee CoChairBoston, J. Robert bbn@pitt.eduBBN
Committee MemberPalmer, Catherine V.palmercv@upmc.eduCVP
Committee MemberPratt, Sheila R.spratt@pitt.eduSPRATT
Date: 19 December 2011
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 30 November 2011
Approval Date: 19 December 2011
Submission Date: 7 December 2011
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 256
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Communication Science and Disorders
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: phase time Fourier analysis Fourier pattern cochlear implant auditory nerve fibers response latency across-species similarity cochlear traveling wave first amplitude maximum click tone burst meta-analysis animal peristimulus-time histogram first-spike latency temporal fine structure
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2011 20:42
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2016 14:38

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