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Last Updated: 20050909, tendeloo

Sunday, October 9, 2:00 pm — 4:00 pm

T18 - Psychophysics and Physiology of Hearing

Poppy Crum, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine - Baltimore, MD, USA

This tutorial presents psychoacoustical phenomena from a physiological perspective. What we hear for any given acoustic signal is often not easily predicted without a consideration of nonlinear processing occurring in the ear and brain. Psychoacoustical studies demonstrate this relationship and offer mapping functions that enable better prediction from the acoustic source to the perceptual experience. In this tutorial we will discuss many such phenomena as they occur in natural hearing and offer an understanding of the physiology that leads to a particular perceptual outcome. Initial emphasis will be on how the ear (outer, middle, and inner) processes a simple sound – with a focus on the physiology of the inner ear. From here we will consider psychoacoustic phenomena associated with the perceptual experiences of: loudness, masking, pitch, and spatial localization. As appropriate we will discuss the physiology of higher auditory brain areas (beyond the cochlea) and the relative processing necessary for a given phenomenon. For example, many of the neural correlates of spatial hearing are well understood. We will discuss various properties of spatial hearing and attempt to understand how an acoustic signal in a free-field environment is encoded and represented in the nervous system ultimately leading to the perceived location. In other words, where, and how, is a spatial signal interpreted and coded in the brain? And how does this representation influence our perception of the source’s location?

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