Auditory stream segregation in monkey auditory cortex: effects of frequency separation, presentation rate, and tone duration

J Acoust Soc Am. 2004 Sep;116(3):1656-70. doi: 10.1121/1.1778903.


Auditory stream segregation refers to the organization of sequential sounds into "perceptual streams" reflecting individual environmental sound sources. In the present study, sequences of alternating high and low tones, "...ABAB...," similar to those used in psychoacoustic experiments on stream segregation, were presented to awake monkeys while neural activity was recorded in primary auditory cortex (A1). Tone frequency separation (AF), tone presentation rate (PR), and tone duration (TD) were systematically varied to examine whether neural responses correlate with effects of these variables on perceptual stream segregation. "A" tones were fixed at the best frequency of the recording site, while "B" tones were displaced in frequency from "A" tones by an amount = delta F. As PR increased, "B" tone responses decreased in amplitude to a greater extent than "A" tone responses, yielding neural response patterns dominated by "A" tone responses occurring at half the alternation rate. Increasing TD facilitated the differential attenuation of "B" tone responses. These findings parallel psychoacoustic data and suggest a physiological model of stream segregation whereby increasing delta F, PR, or TD enhances spatial differentiation of "A" tone and "B" tone responses along the tonotopic map in A1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation / instrumentation
  • Acoustic Stimulation / methods*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Auditory Cortex / physiology*
  • Electrophysiology
  • Fourier Analysis
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Male
  • Models, Animal