Seeking the Neural Basis of Auditory Perception: A Study in Phoneme Confusions

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2007-08-21

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Recent studies concerning phoneme representation and classification suggest neural responses in the primary auditory cortex of ferrets are “sufficiently rich to encode and discriminate phoneme classes, and that humans and animals may build upon the same general acoustic representations to learn boundaries for categorical and robust sound classification.”1 This paper further explores phoneme discrimination— specifically perceptual confusion among plosives /p/, /t/ and /k/ and fricatives /s/ and /∫/— in ferrets, the ability for the animals to generalize across different speakers, and also the behavioral training procedure used to test the sensory and perceptual abilities of the animals.

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