Inhibition underlies the encoding of short voice onset times in the ventral cochlear nucleus
AuthorPaolini, A. G.; Clarey, J. C.; Clark, Graeme M.
Source TitleProceedings of the Australian Neuroscience Society
Document TypeConference Item
CitationsPaolini, A. G., Clarey, J. C., & Clark, G. M. (2001). Inhibition underlies the encoding of short voice onset times in the ventral cochlear nucleus. In Proceedings of the Australian Neuroscience Society, Brisbane, Qld.
Access StatusOpen Access
This is an abstract of a paper from Proceedings of the Australian Neuroscience Society 2001 published by Australian Neuroscience Society. This version is reproduced with the permission of publisher.
Recent experiments in our laboratory have shown that voice onset time (VOT), the time between consonant release and the first glottal pulse of an ensuing vowel, is effectively encoded by neurons within the ventral cochlear nucleus (VCN). In this investigation we examined the possible neural mechanisms which may underlie this VOT encoding. In male rats anaesthetised with urethane (2.5g1kg i.p), microelectrodes containing 1M potassium acetate, were inserted into the VCN. Speech stimuli consisting of 3 syllables spoken naturally by a male and female were presented at double rate and 3 intensities (/bεt/, /dεt/, and /gεt/ at 45, 65 and 75 dB SPL). Intracellular recordings were made in 12 neurons, eight of which had a response to pure tones typical of spherical bushy neurons, responding in a primary-like (PL) fashion. The remaining cells were classified as either globular bushy (n=2) or stellate cells (n=2). In PL neurons, the VOT period was associated with hyperpolarisation. The duration and amplitude of this hyperpolarising influence was greater for female speech. These PL units showed better encoding of VOT than other cell types in which hyperpolarisation was less evident and action > potentials were often evoked during this period at the highest intensity level. We propose that this hyperpolarisation is due to stimulation of inhibitory sidebands by the high frequency frication noise within the VOT period. This inhibition reduces the probability of action potential generation during the VOT period and enhances the salience of the voice onset enabling more effective encoding of VOT than seen in the auditory nerve.
Keywordscochlear implants; voice onset time; otolaryngology; speech perception
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