Monthly
288 pp. per issue
6 x 9, illustrated
ISSN
0899-7667
E-ISSN
1530-888X
2014 Impact factor:
2.21

Neural Computation

October 1, 2001, Vol. 13, No. 10, Pages 2317-2338
(doi: 10.1162/089976601750541813)
© 2001 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Evaluating Auditory Performance Limits: II. One-Parameter Discrimination with Random-Level Variation
Article PDF (223.7 KB)
Abstract

Previous studies have combined analytical models of stochastic neural responses with signal detection theory (SDT) to predict psychophysical performance limits; however, these studies have typically been limited to simple models and simple psychophysical tasks. A companion article in this issue (“Evaluating Auditory Performance Limits: I”) describes an extension of the SDT approach to allow the use of computational models that provide more accurate descriptions of neural responses. This article describes an extension to more complex psychophysical tasks. A general method is presented for evaluating psychophysical performance limits for discrimination tasks in which one stimulus parameter is randomly varied. Psychophysical experiments often randomly vary a single parameter in order to restrict the cues that are available to the subject. The method is demonstrated for the auditory task of random-level frequency discrimination using a computational auditory nerve (AN) model. Performance limits based on AN discharge times (all-information) are compared to performance limits based only on discharge counts (rate place). Both decision models are successful in predicting that random-level variation has no effect on performance in quiet, which is the typical result in psychophysical tasks with random-level variation. The distribution of information across the AN population provides insight into how different types of AN information can be used to avoid the influence of random-level variation. The rate-place model relies on comparisons between fibers above and below the tone frequency (i.e., the population response), while the all-information model does not require such across-fiber comparisons. Frequency discrimination with random-level variation in the presence of high-frequency noise is also simulated. No effect is predicted for all-information, consistent with the small effect in human performance; however, a large effect is predicted for rate-place in noise with random-level variation.