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Request for information

The papers I know of study an [Amplitude] Modulation Transfer
Function, which measures the neural firing rate for given rates of
sinusoidal AM imposed on a fixed-frequency carrier.  (There are also
measurements of the degree of phase-locking, and measurements using
square-wave AM.)  Since different sinusoidal AM rates are somewhat
like different onset rates, they may be what you want.

For instance, the first paper below plots neural responses to a
carrier which was amplitude-modulated at rates of 2-11 Hz, finding the
strongest response around 5 Hz.  The latter would be the "Best
[Amplitude] Modulation Frequency."  Other papers find neurons with
BMF's up to roughly 1 kHz, suggesting that this may be part of a pitch

The best place I know of to start would be
  author        = "Christoph E. Schreiner and Gerald Langner",
  title         = "Coding of Temporal Patterns in the Central Auditory Nervous
  booktitle     = "Auditory Function",
  publisher     = WILEY,
  year          = 1988,
  editor        = "G. M. Edelman and W. E. Gall and W. M. Cowan",
  chapter       = 11,
  pages         = "337-361",
  address       = WILEY_ADDRESS,

Other useful papers would be these:
  author        = "Christoph E. Schreiner and J. V. Urbas",
  title         = "Representation of Amplitude Modulation in the Auditory
                        Cortex of the Cat, parts I and II."
  journal       = "Hearing Research"
  year          = 1986 (part I)      1988 (part II)
  volume        = 21                 32
  pages         = 227-241            49-64
  author        = "Christoph E. Schreiner and Gerald Langner",
  title         = "Periodicity Coding in the Inferior Colliculus of
                        the Cat, parts I and II."
  journal       = "Journal of Neurophysiology",
  year          = 1988,
  volume        = 60,
  number        = 6,
  pages         = "1799-1840",
  month         = dec,

If these don't help, you might ask Chris Schreiner,
who works at U. C. San Francisco.

                                Dave Mellinger