Ethological stimuli

Achim Klug and Benedikt Grothe

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

 Ethological stimuli

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  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
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This article provides an understanding of a number of principles that the auditory system employs in processing ethologically relevant stimuli. It sheds light on the response properties of single neurons to sound and how these properties are created by the interactions of the different inputs these neurons receive. Some common principles of vocalizations and other behaviorally relevant sound stimuli are discussed. The article reviews how the responses of single neurons to particular components of these complex sounds are shaped through the interactions of small networks. It shows how these neurons, through interaction of neural excitation and neural inhibition, analyze a complex sound wave for ethologically relevant aspects and pass information about them on to higher order auditory centers. The article reveals the ways in which some behaviorally relevant cues are represented by larger networks of neurons within the auditory system. It concludes by presenting examples of how the entire auditory system of an animal can be adapted to the processing of biologically relevant stimuli.

Keywords: auditory system; ethologically stimuli; vocalizations; neural excitation; neural inhibition

Article.  10945 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience ; Cognitive Psychology

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