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J Acoust Soc Am. 1990 Jun;87(6):2592-605.

A cochlear frequency-position function for several species--29 years later.

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  • 1School of Audiology and Speech Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

Abstract

Accurate cochlear frequency-position functions based on physiological data would facilitate the interpretation of physiological and psychoacoustic data within and across species. Such functions might aid in developing cochlear models, and cochlear coordinates could provide potentially useful spectral transforms of speech and other acoustic signals. In 1961, an almost-exponential function was developed (Greenwood, 1961b, 1974) by integrating an exponential function fitted to a subset of frequency resolution-integration estimates (critical bandwidths). The resulting frequency-position function was found to fit cochlear observations on human cadaver ears quite well and, with changes of constants, those on elephant, cow, guinea pig, rat, mouse, and chicken (Békésy, 1960), as well as in vivo (behavioral-anatomical) data on cats (Schucknecht, 1953). Since 1961, new mechanical and other physiological data have appeared on the human, cat, guinea pig, chinchilla, monkey, and gerbil. It is shown here that the newer extended data on human cadaver ears and from living animal preparations are quite well fit by the same basic function. The function essentially requires only empirical adjustment of a single parameter to set an upper frequency limit, while a "slope" parameter can be left constant if cochlear partition length is normalized to 1 or scaled if distance is specified in physical units. Constancy of slope and form in dead and living ears and across species increases the probability that the function fitting human cadaver data may apply as well to the living human ear. This prospect increases the function's value in plotting auditory data and in modeling concerned with speech and other bioacoustic signals, since it fits the available physiological data well and, consequently (if those data are correct), remains independent of, and an appropriate means to examine, psychoacoustic data and assumptions.

PMID:
2373794
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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