Journal of Neuroscience vol:23 issue:27 pages:9194-8
It is currently impossible to mechanically measure the overall vibration pattern of the intact mammalian cochlea because of its inaccessibility and vulnerability. At first sight, data from the auditory nerve are a poor substitute because of their limited temporal resolution. The nonlinear character of neural coding, however, causes low-frequency interactions among the components of multitone stimuli. We designed a novel stimulus for which these interactions take a particularly systematic form, and we recorded the response of the auditory nerve to this stimulus. A careful analysis of interactions in the data allowed us to reconstruct frequency transfer functions (both their amplitude and their phase) at multiple points spanning the entire length of the cochlea. The generic character of our stimuli and analysis suggests its wider use in nonlinear system analysis, particularly in those instances in which limitations in temporal resolution restrict the use of customary methods.