Cortical processing of dynamic sound envelope transitions

Yi Zhou, Xiaoqin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Slow envelope fluctuations in the range of 2-20 Hz provide important segmental cues for processing communication sounds. For a successful segmentation, a neural processor must capture envelope features associated with the rise and fall of signal energy, a process that is often challenged by the interference of background noise. This study investigated the neural representations of slowly varying envelopes in quiet and in background noise in the primary auditory cortex (A1) of awake marmoset monkeys.Wecharacterized envelope features based on the local average and rate of change of sound level in envelope waveforms and identified envelope features to which neurons were selective by reverse correlation. Our results showed that envelope feature selectivity of A1 neurons was correlated with the degree of nonmonotonicity in their static rate-level functions. Nonmonotonic neurons exhibited greater feature selectivity than monotonic neurons in quiet and in background noise. The diverse envelope feature selectivity decreased spike-timing correlation among A1 neurons in response to the same envelope waveforms. As a result, the variability, but not the average, of the ensemble responses of A1 neurons represented more faithfully the dynamic transitions in low-frequency sound envelopes both in quiet and in background noise. Copyright

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16741-16754
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number49
StatePublished - Dec 8 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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