Voice onset time (VOT) signifies the interval between consonant onset and the start of rhythmic vocal-cord vibrations. Differential perception of consonants such as /d/ and /t/ is categorical in American English, with the boundary generally lying at a VOT of 20-40 ms. This study tests whether previously identified response patterns that differentially reflect VOT are maintained in large-scale population activity within primary auditory cortex (A1) of the awake monkey. Multiunit activity and current source density patterns evoked by the syllables /da/ and /ta/ with variable VOTs are examined. Neural representation is determined by the tonotopic organization. Differential response patterns are restricted to lower best-frequency regions. Response peaks time-locked to both consonant and voicing onsets are observed for syllables with a 40- and 60-ms VOT, whereas syllables with a 0- and 20-ms VOT evoke a single response time-locked only to consonant onset. Duration of aspiration noise is represented in higher best-frequency regions. Representation of VOT and aspiration noise in discrete tonotopic areas of A1 suggest that integration of these phonetic cues occurs in secondary areas of auditory cortex. Findings are consistent with the evolving concept that complex stimuli are encoded by synchronized activity in large-scale neuronal ensembles.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics