Send to

Choose Destination
Nature. 1996 Mar 14;380(6570):165-8.

Broadband neural encoding in the cricket cercal sensory system enhanced by stochastic resonance.

Author information

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.


Sensory systems are often required to detect a small amplitude signal embedded in broadband background noise. Traditionally, ambient noise is regarded as detrimental to encoding accuracy. Recently, however, a phenomenon known as stochastic resonance has been described in which, for systems with a nonlinear threshold, increasing the input noise level can actually improve the output signal-to-noise ratio over a limited range of signal and noise strengths. Previous theoretical and experimental studies of stochastic resonance in physical and biological systems have dealt exclusively with single-frequency sine stimuli embedded in a broadband noise background. In the past year it has been shown in a theoretical and modelling study that stochastic resonance can be observed with broadband signals. Here we demonstrate that broadband stochastic resonance is manifest in the peripheral layers of neural processing in a simple sensory system, and that it plays a role over a wide range of biologically relevant stimulus parameters. Further, we quantify the functional significance of the phenomenon within the context of signal processing, using information theory.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center