Loudness encoding at the auditory nerve
Keywords:hearing, loudness, neurophysiology, mammalian auditory nerve, spontaneous firing rate, loudness encoding, information theory, pure tone stimulus, inner hair cell, moment-by-moment basis, peak amplitude, instantaneous sound level, auditory nerve
AbstractIndividual units of the mammalian auditory nerve fall into three categories, depending on their spontaneous firing rate. Units of high, medium and low spontaneous rates respond to low, medium and high sound levels respectively (Liberman, 1978). Hence, one might suggest that sound level is coded by the recruitment of subgroups of fibers in response to increasing sound levels. Nevertheless, if loudness were to be preserved amongst these fibers, each fiber would be required to encode the psychophysical growth of loudness, regardless of the limited dynamic range per fiber. We propose that in each fiber of the auditory nerve, the loudness of atone can be represented as an information such that the greater the loudness, the greater the information. Within information theory, information is defined as the difference between the stimulus uncertainty and the stimulus equivocation
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