Single tone alerts brain to complete sound pattern
The processing of sound in the brain is more advanced than previously thought. When we hear a tone, our brain temporarily strengthens that tone but also any tones separated from it by one or more octaves.
Sep. 2, 2013 — The processing of sound in the brain is more advanced than previously thought. When we hear a tone, our brain temporarily strengthens that tone but also any tones separated from it by one or more octaves. A research team from Utrecht and Nijmegen published an article on the subject in the journal PNAS on 2 September.We hear with our brain. The cochlea picks up sound vibrations but the signals produced as a result are processed by the brain, using known patterns. If, for example, you briefly hear a weak tone, your hearing focuses on that tone and suppresses any frequencies around it. This makes it easier to notice any relevant sounds in your surroundings. The present research has shown that this ‘auditory attention filter’ is much more complex than believed until now: frequencies that have an octave relationship with the target tone are also heard better.John van Opstal, professor of Biophysics at Radboud University: ‘This test proves that the brain prepares for a more extensive pattern of tones, even if the person just hears a single test tone or if he has a tone in mind. These extra tones in the pattern were not sounded during the experiment, but the brain complements the information received from the cochlea. This is scientifically interesting. …
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