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Amplitude-modulation detection of Gerbils in reverberant sound fields

Hear Res 302: 107-112. doi: 10.1016/j.heares.2013.04.004. Epub 2013 Apr 18.

Authors/Editors: Lingner A
Kugler K
Grothe B
Wiegrebe L
Publication Date: 2013
Type of Publication: Journal Articles 2001 - 2018


Reverberation can dramatically reduce the depth of amplitude modulations which are critical for speech intelligibility. Psychophysical experiments indicate that humans' sensitivity to amplitude modulation in reverberation is better than predicted from the acoustic modulation depth at the receiver position. Electrophysiological studies on reverberation in rabbits highlight the contribution of neurons sensitive to interaural correlation. Here, we use a prepulse-inhibition paradigm to quantify the gerbils' amplitude modulation threshold in both anechoic and reverberant virtual environments. Data show that prepulse inhibition provides a reliable method for determining the gerbils' AM sensitivity. However, we find no evidence for perceptual restoration of amplitude modulation in reverberation. Instead, the deterioration of AM sensitivity in reverberant conditions can be quantitatively explained by the reduced modulation depth at the receiver position. We suggest that the lack of perceptual restoration is related to physical properties of the gerbil's ear input signals and inner-ear processing as opposed to shortcomings of their binaural neural processing.

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