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Title: Auditory Brainstem Representation of the Voice Pitch Contours in the Resolved and Unresolved Components of Mandarin Tones
Authors: Peng, Fei
McKay, Colette
Mao, Darren
Hou, Wensheng
Innes-Brown, Hamish
Keywords: Frequency-following
Response
Voice pitch
Resolved harmonics
Unresolved harmonics
Autocorrelogram
Phase-locking value
Issue Date: Dec-2018
Publisher: Frontiers in Neuroscience
Citation: Peng, F., C. M. McKay, D. Mao, W. Hou, and H. Innes-Brown. 2018. Auditory Brainstem Representation of the Voice Pitch Contours in the Resolved and Unresolved Components of Mandarin Tones. Frontiers in Neuroscience. 12(820).
Abstract: Accurate perception of voice pitch plays a vital role in speech understanding, especially for tonal languages such as Mandarin. Lexical tones are primarily distinguished by the fundamental frequency (F0) contour of the acoustic waveform. It has been shown that the auditory system could extract the F0 from the resolved and unresolved harmonics, and the tone identification performance of resolved harmonics was better than unresolved harmonics. To evaluate the neural response to the resolved and unresolved components of Mandarin tones in quiet and in speech-shaped noise, we recorded the frequency-following response. In this study, four types of stimuli were used: speech with either only-resolved harmonics or only-unresolved harmonics, both in quiet and in speech-shaped noise. Frequency-following responses (FFRs) were recorded to alternating-polarity stimuli and were added or subtracted to enhance the neural response to the envelope (FFRENV) or fine structure (FFRTFS), respectively. The neural representation of the F0 strength reflected by the FFRENV was evaluated by the peak autocorrelation value in the temporal domain and the peak phase-locking value (PLV) at F0 in the spectral domain. Both evaluation methods showed that the FFRENV F0 strength in quiet was significantly stronger than in noise for speech including unresolved harmonics, but not for speech including resolved harmonics. The neural representation of the temporal fine structure reflected by the FFRTFS was assessed by the PLV at the harmonic near to F1 (4th of F0). The PLV at harmonic near to F1 (4th of F0) of FFRTFS to resolved harmonics was significantly larger than to unresolved harmonics. Spearman’s correlation showed that the FFRENV F0 strength to unresolved harmonics was correlated with tone identification performance in noise (0 dB SNR). These results showed that the FFRENV F0 strength to speech sounds with resolved harmonics was not affected by noise. In contrast, the response to speech sounds with unresolved harmonics, which were significantly smaller in noise compared to quiet. Our results suggest that coding resolved harmonics was more important than coding envelope for tone identification performance in noise.
URI: http://repository.bionicsinstitute.org:8080/handle/123456789/329
ISSN: 1662-453X
Appears in Collections:Bionic Hearing Research Publications

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