Perception of the missing fundamental in nonhuman primates

J Acoust Soc Am. 1988 Aug;84(2):560-5. doi: 10.1121/1.396833.


In preparation for neurophysiological experiments aimed at mechanisms of pitch perception, four rhesus monkeys were trained to press a button when the fundamental frequencies (missing or present) of two complex tones in a tone pair matched. Both tones were based on a five-component harmonic series. Zero to three of the lowest components could be missing in the first tone, while the second (comparison) tone contained all five harmonics. The range of fundamentals tested varied from 200 to 600 Hz. Three monkeys learned to match tones missing their fundamentals to comparison harmonic complexes with the same pitch, whereas the fourth monkey required the physical presence of the fundamental. Consideration of several cues available to the monkeys suggests that the animals could perceive the missing fundamental.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Auditory Perception / physiology
  • Female
  • Macaca / physiology*
  • Macaca mulatta / physiology*
  • Pitch Perception / physiology*
  • Psychoacoustics