Psychometric functions and temporal integration in electric hearing

Gail S. Donaldson, Neal F. Viemeister, David A. Nelson

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Temporal-integration functions and psychometric functions for detection were obtained in eight users of the Nucleus 22-electrode cochlear implant. Stimuli were 100-Hz, 200-μs/phase trains of biphasic pulses with durations ranging from 0.44 to 630.44 ms (1 to 64 pulses). Temporal-integration functions were measured for 21 electrodes. Slopes of these functions were considerably shallower than the 2.5 dB/doubling slopes typically observed in acoustic hearing. They varied widely across subjects and for different electrodes in a given subject, ranging from 0.06 to 1.94 dB/doubling of stimulus pulses, with a mean [standard deviation (s.d.)] value of 0.42 (0.38). Psychometric functions were measured for 11 of the same 21 electrodes. Slopes of psychometric functions also varied across subjects and electrodes, and were 2-20 times steeper than those reported by other investigators for normal-hearing and cochlear-impaired acoustic listeners. Slopes of individual psychometric functions for 1-, 2-, 4-, and 8-pulse stimuli ranged from 0.20 to 1.84 log d'/dB with a mean (s.d.) value of 0.77 (0.45). Psychometric-function slopes did not vary systematically with stimulus duration in most cases. A clear inverse relation between slopes of psychometric functions and slopes of temporal-integration functions was observed. This relation was reasonably well described by a hyperbolic function predicted by the multiple-looks model of temporal integration [Viemeister and Wakefield, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 90, 858-865 (1991)]. Psychometric-function slopes tended to increase with absolute threshold and were inversely correlated with dynamic range, suggesting that observed differences in psychometric-function slopes across subjects and electrodes may reflect underlying differences in neural survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3706-3721
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1997


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