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J Acoust Soc Am. 2005 Jun;117(6):3944-51.

The behavioral response of mice to gaps in noise depends on its spectral components and its bandwidth.

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Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Meliora Hall, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York 14627, USA.


The purpose of these experiments was to determine whether detecting brief decrements in noise level ("gaps") varies with the spectral content and bandwidth of noise in mice as it does in humans. The behavioral effect of gaps was quantified by their inhibiting a subsequent acoustic startle reflex. Gap durations from 1 to 29 ms were presented in five adjacent 1-octave noise bands and one 5-octave band, their range being 2 kHz to 64 kHz. Gaps ended 60 ms before the startle stimulus (experiment 1) or at startle onset (experiment 2). Asymptotic inhibition was greater for higher-frequency 1-octave bands and highest for the 5-octave band in both experiments, but time constants were related to frequency only in experiment 1. For the lowest band (2-4 kHz) neither noise decrements (experiment 1 and 2) nor increments (experiment 3) had any behavioral consequence, but this band was effective when presented as a pulse in quiet (experiment 4). The lowest frequencies in the most effective 1-octave band were one octave above the spectral region where mice have their best absolute thresholds. These effects are similar to those obtained in humans, and reveal a special contribution of wide band, high-frequency stimulation to temporal acuity.

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