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Chapter 5

Chapter 5 Notes - Part Eight

Course Code
Steve Joordens

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These bones act together, in lever fashion, to transmit the vibrations of the eardrum to the
fluid-filled structure of the inner ear that contains the receptive organ
Cochlea: a snail-shaped chamber set in bone in the inner ear, where auditory transduction
takes place
The vestibule (a bony chamber attached to the cochlea) contains 2 openings, the oval
window, and the round window
The stirrup presses against a membrane behind an opening in the bone surrounding the
cochlea called the oval window
Transmitting sound waves into the liquid inside the cochlea, where it can reach the
receptive organ for hearing
Cochlea is divided into 3 chambers by 2 membranes
1)Basilar membrane: one of 2 membranes that divide the cochlea of the inner ear into 3
components; the receptive organ for audition resides here
Basilar membrane can vibrate freely only if the fluid in the lower chamber of the cochlea
has somewhere to go
Free space is provided by the round window
Auditory hair cells transduce mechanical energy caused by the flexing of the basilar
membrane into neural activity
Possess cilia: hair-like protrusions involved in movement or in transducing sensory
Frequencies lower than 200 Hz cause the very tip of the basilar membrane to vibrate in
synchrony with the sound waves
Neurons that are stimulated by hair cells located there are able to fire in synchrony with
these vibrations, thus firing at the same frequency as the sound (ex: temporal coding)
Harmonics: a component of a complex tone; one of a series of tones whose frequency is a
multiple of the fundamental frequency
Fundamental frequency: the lowest, and usually most intense, frequency of a complex sound
(sounds basic pitch)
Timbre is the distinctive combination of harmonics with the fundamental frequency
The fundamental frequency causes one part of the basilar membrane to flex, while each of
the harmonics causes another portion to flex
Task of the auditory system in identifying particular sound sources is one of pattern
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