Representation of stop consonants in the discharge patterns of auditory-nerve fibers

M. I. Miller, M. B. Sachs

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84 Scopus citations


The representation of the speech syllables /da/ and /ba/ in populations of auditory-nerve fibers was studied. Post-stimulus-time histograms were computed from 20-ms segments of fiber spike trains occurring in response to the stimulus. Discrete Fourier transforms with a resolution of 50 Hz were computed from each histogram. As a measure of the response of the population of fibers to each harmonic of the 50-Hz resolution frequency of the transform, the magnitude of the response to that frequency was averaged across all fibers whose characteristic frequencies were within one-fourth octave of that harmonic. We have previously called this measure the average localized synchronized rate (ALSR). Response profiles for the 20-ms segments of the stimulus were generated by plotting the ALSR versus frequency. Time-varying spectral features of the /da/ and /ba/ stimuli are well preserved by such profiles. For example, the onset spectrum and formant transitions of the consonant-vowel syllable are well represented. Furthermore, the fine structure in the speech spectrum related to the pitch of the excitation source is maintained in these ALSR plots. Average discharge rate profiles were generated in a manner similar to that for the ALSR; in this case average rate replaces Fourier transform components as response measure. Such average rate profiles can represent the transitions of at least formants two and three. However, such average rate profiles do not represent the steady-state formants or the voice pitch.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)502-517
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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