Auditory pathway question

Bill Skaggs bill at
Sun Nov 3 23:35:59 EST 1996

radams2000 at (Bob Adams) writes:

   > Many researchers have shown the firing behavior of a few neurons
   > at a time, but are there any techniques available that would
   > would pick up the electric field surrounding the auditory nerve
   > and effectively sum the firing events carried by every axon in
   > the bundle? [ . . . ]  Has anyone every reconstructed an audio
   > signal based solely on a summation of auditory neural firing
   > events? 

It's easy to do but it wouldn't work very well.  Different fibers
respond to different frequency components of the signal, and unless
you could distinguish between them, you wouldn't be able to
reconstruct the original signal.  An extracellular electrode outside
the nerve might tell you that *some* nerve fiber had fired, but it
wouldn't tell you which one, and without this information you wouldn't
be able to get more than a very crude reconstruction.  (Just adding up
the signals, regardless of source, would probably give you a muffled,
low-fidelity reconstruction of the low-frequency components of the
signal, because low-frequency auditory neurons tend to frequency-lock
to the incoming signal.)

	-- Bill

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