How We Hear: The Perception and Neural Coding of Sound

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83 Scopus citations


Auditory perception is our main gateway to communication with others via speech and music, and it also plays an important role in alerting and orienting us to new events. This review provides an overview of selected topics pertaining to the perception and neural coding of sound, starting with the first stage of filtering in the cochlea and its profound impact on perception. The next topic, pitch, has been debated for millennia, but recent technical and theoretical developments continue to provide us with new insights. Cochlear filtering and pitch both play key roles in our ability to parse the auditory scene, enabling us to attend to one auditory object or stream while ignoring others. An improved understanding of the basic mechanisms of auditory perception will aid us in the quest to tackle the increasingly important problem of hearing loss in our aging population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-50
Number of pages24
JournalAnnual review of psychology
StatePublished - Jan 4 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders at the National Institutes of Health provided support through grants R01 DC005216, R01 DC007657, and R01 DC012262. Emily Allen provided assistance with figure preparation. Emily Allen, Gordon Legge, AnahitaMehta, and Kelly Whiteford provided helpful comments on earlier versions of this review.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright ©2018 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.


  • Auditory perception
  • Auditory scene analysis
  • Frequency selectivity
  • Hearing loss
  • Pitch


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