Localization of pitch in the brain?

Matt Jones jonesmat at physiology.wisc.edu
Wed Jul 18 17:42:41 EST 2001

"Didier A. Depireux" <didier at rai.isr.umd.edu> wrote in message news:<9j4eqv$2mr$1 at hecate.umd.edu>...
> Matt Jones <jonesmat at physiology.wisc.edu> wrote:
> > As for the biological basis, I don't know exactly, but I'm pretty sure
> > that certain cell types in cochlear nucleus phase lock to the missing
> > fundamental. 
> Wow. I would like to know where you have seen that! I have never seen such a
> pitch cell reported for reasonable levels of stimulation.
> 						Didier


Well, I was sort of just making that up as I went along.  But after
you asked I did a websearch for "missing fundamental cochlear nucleus"
or something like that, and came up with at least a few suggestive

For auditory nerve:
J Neurophysiol 1996 Sep;76(3):1698-716
Neural correlates of the pitch of complex tones. I. Pitch and pitch
Cariani PA, Delgutte B.

For cochlear nucleus:
This is an abstract for a talk by William Yost. I wasn't able to find
the published paper on medline.

For auditory cortex:
Again, an abstract for a talk, by Hiroshi Riquimaroux..

Finally, the "octopus cells" in the cochlear nucleus receive inputs
from afferents covering wide ranges of overlapping frequency tuning
curves, and have very low input resistances (i.e., would be good at
detecting coincidences arising from multiple frequencies). Thus they
would be good candidates for integrating over broad spectrum signals,
and participating in recognition of virtual pitch (D. Oertel, personal
communication). However, there isn't any direct physiological evidence
to support this yet. They are apparently very difficult to record from
in vivo, because of their biophysical properties of leakiness, small
spike amplitude, broad spectrum responses, etc).

I'll leave it to you to decide whether the stimulus intensities used
in the references above are reasonable or not.  What would you say are
reasonable stimulus intensities?



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