Cochlear mechanics, tuning, non-linearities

Egbert De Boer and Alfred L. Nuttall

in Oxford Handbook of Auditory Science: The Ear

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780199233397
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Cochlear mechanics, tuning, non-linearities

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  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Psychology


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This article deals with the signals in the mammalian cochlea, highlighting the physics and the physiological processes that modify them. It begins with describing concepts that form the basis of cochlear mechanism. It then describes the instrumentation and experimental basis for mechanical research of the cochlea. Following this, it presents the steps in the formulation and the solution of a model of the mechanics of the cochlea and illustrates the ‘active’ process (cochlear amplifier). At the end of the procedure, a model is created of which the response imitates most of the features and properties of the real cochlea. Furthermore, it reveals the non-linear effects in the basilar membrane response as a byproduct of cochlear amplification and elucidates many of the possible mechanisms behind cochlear amplification. It then deals with internal reflections and otoacoustic emissions, and concludes with additional effects, puzzles, and conclusions.

Keywords: cochlear mechanism; active process; cochlear amplifier; basilar membrane response; cochlear amplification; otoacoustic emissions

Article.  22730 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience ; Cognitive Psychology

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