All natural auditory signals, including human speech and animal communication signals, are spectrally and temporally complex, that is, they contain multiple frequencies and their frequency composition, or spectrum, varies over time. The ability of hearers to identify and localize these signals depends on analysis of their spectral composition. For the overwhelming majority of human listeners spoken language is the major means of social communication, and this communication therefore depends on spectral analysis. Spectral analysis begins in the cochlea, but is then elaborated at various stages along the auditory pathways in the brain that lead from the cochlea to the cerebral cortex. The broad purpose of this book is to provide a comprehensive account of the way in which spectral information is processed in the brain and the way in which this information is used by listeners to identify and localize sounds.

Key Features

* Examines spectral processing mechanisms at different levels along the auditory neuraxis, from the cochlear nucleus to the cortex * Reviews in detail psychophysical and neurophysiological evidence on the way in which spectral information is processed within and across frequency channels. * Presents information on the nature of the spectral information required for speech and music perception * Examines a series of issues that relate to the role of spectral analysis in higher order/cognitive aspects of hearing and in clinical and applied contexts


Psychophysicists, neurophysiologists, audiologists, otolaryngologists and neuroscientists.


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© 2005
Academic Press
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Electronic ISBN:

About the editors

Manuel Malmierca

Affiliations and Expertise

Laboratory for the Neurobiology of Hearing, The Institute of Neuroscience of 'Castilla y Leon' (INCyL), Faculty of Medicine, University of Salamanca, Spain

Dexter Irvine

Affiliations and Expertise

Department of Psychology, School of Psychology, Psychiatry, and Psychological Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Australia