Neural Coding and Perception of Sound

Course Info

Course Number/Code: HST.723 (Spring 2005)
Course Title: Neural Coding and Perception of Sound
Course Level: Graduate
Offered By: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Department: Health Sciences and Technology
Course Instructor(s): Prof. Bertrand Delgutte
Prof. M. Christian Brown
Prof. John Guinan, Jr.
Prof. Jennifer Melcher
Prof. Andrew Oxenham
Course Introduction:
Syllabus When you click the Amazon logo to the left of any citation and purchase the book (or other media) from, MIT OpenCourseWare will receive up to 10% of this purchase and any other purchases you make during that visit. This will not increase the cost of your purchase. Links provided are to the US Amazon site, but you can also support OCW through Amazon sites in other regions. Learn more.Who should take the course?

Anyone interested in auditory perception and the underlying neural mechanisms. The course is required for graduate students in the Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology Program. It is also appropriate for students in Brain and Cognitive Sciences or Electrical Engineering and Computer Science with an interest in hearing. Some familiarity with peripheral mechanisms of hearing (how the ear works) and biophysics of neurons is expected.

How does the course work?

Much of the learning is done by theme discussions of scientific papers. A block of lectures provides the background for reading the papers in each theme. Students are expected to read all the theme papers, then each paper is presented orally to the class by one student, followed by a discussion. At the end of a theme discussion, students write a report summarizing what they learned from the papers. The course also includes five laboratory exercises providing hands-on experience with neurophysiological, computational, and psychophysical techniques.

Prerequisites (one or more of the following)

HST.714: Acoustics of Speech and HearingHST.721: The Peripheral Auditory SystemHST.541: Quantitative Physiology: Cells and Tissues9.04: Neural Basis of Vision and Audition

Recommended Course TextsBasics

Pickles, James O. An Introduction to the Physiology of Hearing. 2nd ed. London, UK: Academic Press, 1988. ISBN: 9780125547543.

Moore, Brian C. J. An Introduction to the Psychology of Hearing. 4th ed. London, UK: Academic Press, 1997. ISBN: 9780125056274.


Moore, Brian C. J. Hearing (Handbook of Perception and Cognition). 2nd ed. London, UK: Academic Press, 1995. ISBN: 9780125056267.

Yost, William A., Arthur N. Popper, and Richard R. Fay, eds. Human Psychophysics. New York, NY: Springer-Verlag, 1993. ISBN: 9780387978406.

Hartmann, William M. Signals, Sound, and Sensation . Woodbury, NY: AIP Press, 1998. ISBN: 9781563962837.

Peripheral Physiology

Dallos, Peter, Arthur N. Popper, and Richard R. Fay, eds. The Cochlea. 1st ed. New York, NY: Springer-Verlag, 1996. ISBN: 9780387944494.

Geisler, C. Daniel. From Sound to Synapse: Physiology of the Mammalian Ear. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN: 9780195100259.

Central Physiology

Ehret, Gunter, and Raymond Romand, eds. The Central Auditory System. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1996. ISBN: 9780195096842.

Popper, Arthur N., and Richard R. Fay, eds. The Mammalian Auditory Pathway: Neurophysiology. New York, NY: Springer-Verlag, 1992. ISBN: 0387978017.

Oertel, Donata, Richard R. Fay, and Arthur N. Popper, eds. Integrative Functions in the Mammalian Auditory Pathway. New York, NY: Springer-Verlag, 2002. ISBN: 9780387989037.

Mathematical Models

Hawkins, Harold L., Teresa A. McMullen, and Arthur N. Popper, Richard R. Fay, eds. Auditory Computation. New York, NY: Springer-Verlag, 1995. ISBN: 9780387978437.

Greenberg, Steven, M. Slaney, S. Greenberg, and Malcolm Slaney, eds. Computational Models of Auditory Function. Amsterdam, NL: IOS Press, 2001. ISBN: 9789051994575.

Course Structure

The course is organized by themes forming a coherent set of lectures, laboratory exercises and discussions of scientific papers.

ThemesMasking and frequency selectivityCellular mechanisms in the cochlear nucleusBinaural interactionsPitch and temporal codingNeural maps and plasticityAuditory scene analysis and object formationAssignments and Grading

The assignments in this class consist of 4 written theme discussion reports, 3 written laboratory reports, approximately 3 oral paper presentations, and reading of 25-30 papers. In addition, there will be a final examination. Your overall grade will be based approximately on the following:

Gradings TableACTIVITIESPERCENTAGESFinal Exam30%Written Theme Discussion Reports30%Laboratory Reports25%Oral Paper Presentations and Class Participation15%

Theme discussion reports are due one week after the last discussion session for the theme.

Laboratory reports are due one week after the lab session.

Late assignments will not be accepted.