Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A Good Ear: Rats Identify Specific Sounds In Noisy Environments

Date:
November 27, 2008
Source:
University of Montreal
Summary:
Alex Martin placed rats in a partially echo-free, sound-proof chamber and simultaneously played two types of sounds: Gaussian sound (containing all frequencies) of 25 decibels and a pure sound (made up of one frequency). He found that auditory neurons respond to a pure sound even if there is background noise.

Rats could help us understand how the brain identifies specific sounds in a noisy environment.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Montreal

A study conducted on hundreds of rats could help us understand how the brain identifies specific sounds in a noisy environment. The investigation, soon to be published in the journal Brain, was conducted by Alex Martin of the Universitι de Montrιal Department of Psychology.

"Our ears have thousands of ciliated cells with different sensitivities," says Martin. "These cells identify the frequencies that make up a particular sound, but also the spectrum of different frequencies that blend together. That is why we can identify different instruments playing the same note."

For instance, during a concert, when the sound of the crowd mixes with several instruments, our brain can still identify the specific notes played by the trumpet, the violin or any other instrument in the orchestra. Still, Martin was curious to know the impact of background noise on the spatial sensitivity of auditory neurons.

Martin placed rats in a partially echo-free, sound-proof chamber and simultaneously played two types of sounds: Gaussian sound (containing all frequencies) of 25 decibels and a pure sound (made up of one frequency). He found that auditory neurons respond to a pure sound even if there is background noise.

Indeed, 71 percent of neurons don't change their response rate while 16 percent are excited by the sound and demonstrate increased sensitivity. Only 13 percent of neurons decreased their sensitivity in presence of background noise.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Montreal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Montreal. "A Good Ear: Rats Identify Specific Sounds In Noisy Environments." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081118122105.htm>.
University of Montreal. (2008, November 27). A Good Ear: Rats Identify Specific Sounds In Noisy Environments. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081118122105.htm
University of Montreal. "A Good Ear: Rats Identify Specific Sounds In Noisy Environments." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081118122105.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stopping School Violence

Stopping School Violence

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) — A trauma doctor steps out of the hospital and into the classroom to teach kids how to calmly solve conflicts, avoiding a trip to the ER. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pineal Cysts: Debilitating Pain

Pineal Cysts: Debilitating Pain

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) — A tiny cyst in the brain that can cause debilitating symptoms like chronic headaches and insomnia, and the doctor who performs the delicate surgery to remove them. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
App Teaches Kindergarteners to Code

App Teaches Kindergarteners to Code

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) — They can't all read yet, but soon kindergarteners may be able to create basic computer code. Researchers in Massachusetts developed an app that teaches young kids a simple computer programming language. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins