Auditory-nerve fiber responses to frequency-modulated tones

Hear Res. 1981 May;4(2):127-48. doi: 10.1016/0378-5955(81)90001-0.


Discharge patterns of cat auditory-nerve fibers were obtained in response to frequency-modulated (FM) tones. The rate and direction of frequency change and the sound-pressure level of the sweep tones were systematically varied, and aspects of the discharge patterns were compared to aspects of the discharge patterns elicited by pure tones. Increases in SPL broaden the frequency range over which the fiber responds, as is the case with pure-tone stimuli. Increases in the rate of frequency change have little effect on frequency selectivity for the rates tested. In general, the pure-tone response area is a good predictor of the response area to FM. Although approximately equal numbers of spikes are elicited by ascending and descending sweeps, the discharge patterns differ slightly; for each direction of frequency change, the FM response area is shifted in the direction of the earliest-occurring frequencies. Most of this shift can be accounted for by neural adaptation. This asymmetry is small, relative to those observed in the central nervous system.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation*
  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Nerve Fibers / physiology*
  • Vestibulocochlear Nerve / physiology*