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Re: pitch neurons

Hi all,

Although pattern-matching theories like Terhardt's would seem to imply a central origin to pitch perception (at least for complex tones), pattern-matching theories do have limitations that I think limit their utility in identifying neural origins. For instance, they don't do well at explaining how complex tones comprised entirely of unresolved harmonics can elicit virtual pitch; rather, the standard requirement for pattern-matching models is that the system needs a resolvable harmonic as a trace for pitch extraction...Going on the evidence so far (and I'm referring to work by e.g. Houtsma & Smurzynski, 1990, JASA, 87 304-310, Carlyon & Shackleton, 1994, JASA, 95, 3541-3554; Steinschneider et al. 1998, JASA, 104, 2935-2955) it looks as though there are dual mechanisms, involving both temporal extraction and pattern matching, with the latter involved mainly when there are resolvable harmonics present. So one interesting question that comes out of this is whether the "pitch" produced by these mechanisms is elicited at the same neural level....

In support of Eli's proposition that pitch is likely to be a central
phenomenon, I want to bring up Terhardt's 1974 model (JASA) in which pitch
develops by way of learning.


Christopher D. Chambers
Post-doctoral Research Fellow
Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory
Department of Psychology
University of Melbourne
Victoria 3010

Office Tel.  +61 3 8344 3684
Lab Tel. +61 3 8344 5158
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email: c.chambers@psych.unimelb.edu.au