Complex tone processing in primary auditory cortex of the awake monkey. I. Neural ensemble correlates of roughness

Yonatan I. Fishman, David H. Reser, Joseph C. Arezzo, Mitchell Steinschneider

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42 Scopus citations


Previous physiological studies [e.g., Bieser and Muller-Preuss, Exp. Brain Res. 108, 273-284 (1996); Schulze and Langner, J. Comp. Physiol. A 181, 651-663 (1997); Steinschneider et al., J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 104, 2935-2955 (1998)] have suggested that neural activity in primary auditory cortex (A1) phase-locked to the waveform envelope of complex sounds with low (<300 Hz) periodicities may represent a neural correlate of roughness perception. However, a correspondence between these temporal response patterns and human psychophysical boundaries of roughness has not yet been demonstrated. The present study examined whether the degree of synchronized' phase-locked activity of neuronal ensembles in A1 of the awake monkey evoked by complex tones parallels human psychoacoustic data defining the existence region and frequency dependence of roughness. Stimuli consisted of three consecutive harmonics of fundamental frequencies (f0s) ranging from 25 to 4000 Hz. The center frequency of the complex tones was fixed at the best frequency (BF) of the cortical sites, which ranged from 0.3 to 10 kHz. Neural ensemble activity in the thalamorecipient zone (lower lamina III) and supragranular cortical laminae (upper lamina III and lamina II) was measured using multiunit activity and current source density techniques and the degree of phase- locking to the f0 was quantified by spectral analysis. In the thalamorecipient zone, the stimulus f0 at which phase-locking was maximal increased with BF and reached an upper limit between 75 and 150 Hz for BFs greater than about 3 kHz. Estimates of limiting phase-locking rates also increased with BF and approximated psychoacoustic values for the disappearance of roughness. These physiological relationships parallel human perceptual data and therefore support the relevance of phase-locked activity of neuronal ensembles in A1 for the physiological representation of roughness. (C) 2000 Acoustical Society of America.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-246
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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