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J Acoust Soc Am. 1988 Dec;84(6):2081-91.

Masking patterns in the bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana). II: Physiological effects.

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Department of Psychology, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02912.


Responses of individual eighth-nerve fibers in the bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) were measured to tone bursts at best frequency against a background of continuous, broadband masking noise. These data were used to calculate critical masking ratios to describe the fibers' responses to tones embedded in noise. In the frequency response range of the amphibian papilla (100-1000 Hz), critical ratios increase with tone frequency. Critical ratios of basilar papilla fibers (1000-2000 Hz) are generally higher than those of amphibian papilla fibers. Critical ratios are also significantly related to fiber threshold such that fibers with high thresholds, regardless of their best frequencies, have higher critical ratios and are thus less selective to signals embedded in noise. Critical ratios based on neural responses show a somewhat different frequency-dependent trend than do critical ratios based on psychophysical data presented previously for this species [A. M. Simmons, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 83, 1087-1092 (1988a)]. In addition, these neural critical ratios do not appear to be level independent, as are psychophysical critical ratios. The data suggest that frequency selectivity of hearing in the bullfrog as measured behaviorally is probably not mediated solely by spectral filtering in the auditory periphery.

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