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Hear Res. 2013 Nov;305:113-34. doi: 10.1016/j.heares.2013.08.017. Epub 2013 Sep 12.

Syllabic (∼2-5 Hz) and fluctuation (∼1-10 Hz) ranges in speech and auditory processing.

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  • 1Department of Neurological Surgery, UC San Francisco, USA. Electronic address: erik.edwards4@gmail.com.


Given recent interest in syllabic rates (∼2-5 Hz) for speech processing, we review the perception of "fluctuation" range (∼1-10 Hz) modulations during listening to speech and technical auditory stimuli (AM and FM tones and noises, and ripple sounds). We find evidence that the temporal modulation transfer function (TMTF) of human auditory perception is not simply low-pass in nature, but rather exhibits a peak in sensitivity in the syllabic range (∼2-5 Hz). We also address human and animal neurophysiological evidence, and argue that this bandpass tuning arises at the thalamocortical level and is more associated with non-primary regions than primary regions of cortex. The bandpass rather than low-pass TMTF has implications for modeling auditory central physiology and speech processing: this implicates temporal contrast rather than simple temporal integration, with contrast enhancement for dynamic stimuli in the fluctuation range. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled "Communication Sounds and the Brain: New Directions and Perspectives".

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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