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J Acoust Soc Am. 1978 Dec;64(6):1723-6.

Stiffness gradient along the basilar membrane as a basis for spatial frequency analysis within the cochlea.


Stiffness z of the basilar membrane of the house mouse against a displacement by sound was calculated from data on width and thickness of the membrane. Three functions of the kind log10z = ax + b were obtained which equally express the stiffness change in dependence on the locus x on the basilar membrane. These functions were compared with the one for frequency representation. The result is that the spatial distribution of displacement maxima for frequencies and of stiffness follows the same kind of place-dependent functions over a large portion of the basilar membrane. From this it can be concluded empirically that the frequency and stiffness (calculated from width and thickness of the basilar membrane) scales along the cochlea are generally proportional to each other and that stiffness is a dominant factor for the determination of the locus of the displacement maximum for a given frequency.

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