Adrian Rees and Alan R. Palmer

in The Oxford Handbook of Auditory Science: The Auditory Brain

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780199233281
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology


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  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Psychology


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This article introduces the fascinating complexity of the auditory brain: the neural centres and their connections that enable us to perceive and interpret sounds that have been transduced into neural activity by the cochlea. It reviews how different categories of stimuli are encoded and examines sounds that have the greatest biological significance. The reasons for changes in hearing throughout life are explored and this helps to predict that development might play an important role in the auditory brain because the sensory cues that an animal receives will change as the head grows. Sounds are more than just stimuli that are perceived, they have a considerable capacity to influence our emotional and cognitive states. Some aspects of these processes are analysed. Finally, this article considers disorders of the auditory brain and demonstrates that while most hearing loss has its origin in pathological changes in the cochlea, subtle deficits in auditory processing arise from lesions in specific regions of the auditory pathway.

Keywords: auditory brain; stimuli; neural activity; hearing loss; sensory cues

Article.  2759 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience ; Cognitive Psychology

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