Different timescales for the neural coding of consonant and vowel sounds

Claudia A. Perez, Crystal T. Engineer, Vikram Jakkamsetti, Ryan S. Carraway, Matthew S. Perry, Michael P. Kilgard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

42 Scopus citations

Abstract

Psychophysical, clinical, and imaging evidence suggests that consonant and vowel sounds have distinct neural representations. This study tests the hypothesis that consonant and vowel sounds are represented on different timescales within the same population of neurons by comparing behavioral discrimination with neural discrimination based on activity recorded in rat inferior colliculus and primary auditory cortex. Performance on 9 vowel discrimination tasks was highly correlated with neural discrimination based on spike count and was not correlated when spike timing was preserved. In contrast, performance on 11 consonant discrimination tasks was highly correlated with neural discrimination when spike timing was preserved and not when spike timing was eliminated. These results suggest that in the early stages of auditory processing, spike count encodes vowel sounds and spike timing encodes consonant sounds. These distinct coding strategies likely contribute to the robust nature of speech sound representations and may help explain some aspects of developmental and acquired speech processing disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)670-683
Number of pages14
JournalCerebral Cortex
Volume23
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

Keywords

  • multiplexed temporal coding
  • processing streams
  • rate code
  • spatiotemporal activity pattern

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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    Perez, C. A., Engineer, C. T., Jakkamsetti, V., Carraway, R. S., Perry, M. S., & Kilgard, M. P. (2013). Different timescales for the neural coding of consonant and vowel sounds. Cerebral Cortex, 23(3), 670-683. https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhs045