Listening experience with iterated rippled noise alters the perception of 'pitch' strength of complex sounds in the chinchilla

William P. Shofner, William M. Whitmer, William A. Yost

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Behavioral responses obtained from chinchillas trained to discriminate a cosine-phase harmonic tone complex from wideband noise indicate that the perception of 'pitch' strength in chinchillas is largely influenced by periodicity information in the stimulus envelope. The perception of 'pitch' strength was examined in chinchillas in a stimulus generalization paradigm after animals had been retrained to discriminate infinitely iterated rippled noise from wideband noise. Retrained chinchillas gave larger behavioral responses to test stimuli having strong fine structure periodicity, but weak envelope periodicity. That is, chinchillas learn to use the information in the fine structure and consequently, their perception of 'pitch' strength is altered. Behavioral responses to rippled noises having similar periodicity strengths, but large spectral differences were also tested. Responses to these rippled noises were similar, suggesting a temporal analysis can be used to account for the behavior. Animals were then retested using the cosine-phase harmonic tone complex as the expected signal stimulus. Generalization gradients returned to those obtained originally in the naive condition, suggesting that chinchillas do not remain "fine structure listeners," but rather revert back to being "envelope listeners" when the periodicity strength in the envelope of the expected stimulus is high.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3187-3197
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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