The frequency following response (FFR) may reflect pitch-bearing information but is not a direct representation of pitch

Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology : JARO
Hedwig E GockelChristopher J Plack

Abstract

The frequency following response (FFR), a scalp-recorded measure of phase-locked brainstem activity, is often assumed to reflect the pitch of sounds as perceived by humans. In two experiments, we investigated the characteristics of the FFR evoked by complex tones. FFR waveforms to alternating-polarity stimuli were averaged for each polarity and added, to enhance envelope, or subtracted, to enhance temporal fine structure information. In experiment 1, frequency-shifted complex tones, with all harmonics shifted by the same amount in Hertz, were presented diotically. Only the autocorrelation functions (ACFs) of the subtraction-FFR waveforms showed a peak at a delay shifted in the direction of the expected pitch shifts. This expected pitch shift was also present in the ACFs of the output of an auditory nerve model. In experiment 2, the components of a harmonic complex with harmonic numbers 2, 3, and 4 were presented either to the same ear ("mono") or the third harmonic was presented contralaterally to the ear receiving the even harmonics ("dichotic"). In the latter case, a pitch corresponding to the missing fundamental was still perceived. Monaural control conditions presenting only the even harmonics ("2 + 4") or only the third ha...Continue Reading

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Citations

Jun 14, 2013·Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology : JARO·F MarmelChristopher J Plack
Sep 28, 2012·The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience·Andrew J Oxenham
Oct 9, 2012·The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America·Hedwig E GockelRobert P Carlyon
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