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Title: Temporal Coding of Voice Pitch Contours in Mandarin Tones
Authors: Peng, Fei
Innes-Brown, Hamish
McKay, Colette
Fallon, James
Zhou, Yi
Wang, Xing
Hu, Ning
Hou, Wensheng
Keywords: Temporal coding
Voice pitch contours
Natural speech
Inferior colliculus
Fundamental frequency
Issue Date: Jul-2018
Publisher: Frontiers in Neural Circuits
Citation: Peng, F., H. Innes-Brown, C. M. McKay, J. Fallon, Y. Zhou, X. Wang, N. Hu, and W. Hou. 2018. Temporal Coding of Voice Pitch Contours in Mandarin Tones. Frontiers in Neural Circuits. 12(55).
Abstract: Accurate perception of time-variant pitch is important for speech recognition, particularly for tonal languages with different lexical tones such as Mandarin, in which different tones convey different semantic information. Previous studies reported that the auditory nerve and cochlear nucleus can encode different pitches through phase-locked neural activities. However, little is known about how the inferior colliculus (IC) encodes the time-variant periodicity pitch of natural speech. In this study, the Mandarin syllable /ba/ pronounced with four lexical tones (flat, rising, falling then rising and falling) were used as stimuli. Local field potentials (LFPs) and single neuron activity were simultaneously recorded from 90 sites within contralateral IC of six urethane-anesthetized and decerebrate guinea pigs in response to the four stimuli. Analysis of the temporal information of LFPs showed that 93% of the LFPs exhibited robust encoding of periodicity pitch. Pitch strength of LFPs derived from the autocorrelogram was significantly (p<0.001) stronger for rising tones than flat and falling tones. Pitch strength are also significantly increased (p<0.05) with the characteristic frequency (CF). On the other hand, only 47% (42 or 90) of single neuron activities were significantly synchronized to the fundamental frequency of the stimulus suggesting that the temporal spiking pattern of single IC neuron could encode the time variant periodicity pitch of speech robustly. The difference between the number of LFPs and single neurons that encode the time-variant F0 voice pitch supports the notion of a transition at the level of IC from direct temporal coding in the spike trains of individual neurons to other form of neural representation.
URI: http://repository.bionicsinstitute.org:8080/handle/123456789/309
ISSN: 1662-5110
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