Localization by Interaural Time Difference (ITD): Effects of Interaural Frequency Mismatch

J Acoust Soc Am. 1999 Jul;106(1):281-90. doi: 10.1121/1.427056.


A commonly accepted physiological model for lateralization of low-frequency sounds by interaural time delay (ITD) stipulates that binaural comparison neurons receive input from frequency-matched channels from each ear. Here, the effects of hypothetical interaural frequency mismatches on this model are reported. For this study, the cat's auditory system peripheral to the binaural comparison neurons was represented by a neurophysiologically derived model, and binaural comparison neurons were represented by cross-correlators. The results of the study indicate that, for binaural comparison neurons receiving input from one cochlear channel from each ear, interaural CF mismatches may serve to either augment or diminish the effective difference in ipsilateral and contralateral axonal time delays from the periphery to the binaural comparison neuron. The magnitude of this increase or decrease in the effective time delay difference can be up to 400 microseconds for CF mismatches of 0.2 octaves or less for binaural neurons with CFs between 250 Hz and 2.5 kHz. For binaural comparison neurons with nominal CFs near 500 Hz, the 25-microsecond effective time delay difference caused by a 0.012-octave CF mismatch is equal to the ITD previously shown to be behaviorally sufficient for the cat to lateralize a low-frequency sound source.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology
  • Cats
  • Cochlea / physiology
  • Hearing / physiology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology