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J Acoust Soc Am. 1985 Dec;78(6):1977-85.

Frequency and intensity discrimination in humans and monkeys.


Frequency and intensity DLs were compared in humans and monkeys using a repeating standard "yes-no" procedure in which subjects reported frequency increments, frequency decrements, intensity increments, or intensity decrements in an ongoing train of 1.0-kHz tone bursts. There was only one experimental condition (intensity increments) in which monkey DLs (1.5-2.0 dB) overlapped those of humans (1.0-1.8 dB). For discrimination of both increments and decrements in frequency, monkey DLs (16-33 Hz) were approximately seven times larger than those of humans (2.4-4.8 Hz), and for discrimination of intensity decrements, monkey DLs (4.4-7.0 dB) were very unstable and larger than those of humans (1.0-1.8 dB). For intensity increment discrimination, humans and monkeys also exhibited similar DLs as SL was varied. However, for frequency increment discrimination, best DLs for humans occurred at a high (50 dB) SL, whereas best DLs for monkeys occurred at a moderate (30 dB) SL. Results are discussed in terms of various neural mechanisms that might be differentially engaged by humans and monkeys in performing these tasks; for example, different amounts of temporal versus rate coding in frequency discrimination, and different mechanisms for monitoring rate decreases in intensity discrimination. The implications of these data for using monkeys as models of human speech sound discrimination are also discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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