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Phys Rev Lett. 2003 May 2;90(17):178103. Epub 2003 May 1.

Zwicker tone illusion and noise reduction in the auditory system.

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Physik Department, TU München, 85747 Garching bei München, Munich, Germany.


The Zwicker tone is an auditory aftereffect. For instance, after switching off a broadband noise with a spectral gap, one perceives it as a lingering pure tone with the pitch in the gap. It is a unique illusion in that it cannot be explained by known properties of the auditory periphery alone. Here we introduce a neuronal model explaining the Zwicker tone. We show that a neuronal noise-reduction mechanism in conjunction with dominantly unilateral inhibition explains the effect. A pure tone's "hole burning" in noisy surroundings is given as an illustration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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