Dynamic Reweighting of Auditory Modulation Filters

PLoS Comput Biol. 2016 Jul 11;12(7):e1005019. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005019. eCollection 2016 Jul.


Sound waveforms convey information largely via amplitude modulations (AM). A large body of experimental evidence has provided support for a modulation (bandpass) filterbank. Details of this model have varied over time partly reflecting different experimental conditions and diverse datasets from distinct task strategies, contributing uncertainty to the bandwidth measurements and leaving important issues unresolved. We adopt here a solely data-driven measurement approach in which we first demonstrate how different models can be subsumed within a common 'cascade' framework, and then proceed to characterize the cascade via system identification analysis using a single stimulus/task specification and hence stable task rules largely unconstrained by any model or parameters. Observers were required to detect a brief change in level superimposed onto random level changes that served as AM noise; the relationship between trial-by-trial noisy fluctuations and corresponding human responses enables targeted identification of distinct cascade elements. The resulting measurements exhibit a dynamic complex picture in which human perception of auditory modulations appears adaptive in nature, evolving from an initial lowpass to bandpass modes (with broad tuning, Q∼1) following repeated stimulus exposure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Auditory Pathways / physiology*
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Computational Biology
  • Humans
  • Noise
  • Task Performance and Analysis*
  • Young Adult