MIT OpenCourseWare
  • OCW home
  • Course List
  • about OCW
  • Help
  • Feedback
  • Support MIT OCW

HST.723 Neural Coding and Perception of Sound, Spring 2003

Photos of an owl at night.
Photos of an owl at night, Ngala Game Reserve, South Africa. (Courtesy of Sandra Mallalieu.)

Highlights of this Course

Much of the learning in this course is done by theme discussions of scientific papers. A block of lectures provides the background for reading the papers in each theme. Students are expected to read all the theme papers, then each paper is presented orally to the class by one student, followed by a discussion. At the end of a theme discussion, students write a report summarizing what they learned from the papers. The course also includes an extensive bibliography and four laboratory exercises providing hands-on experience with neurophysiological, computational, and psychophysical techniques.

Course Description

Neural structures and mechanisms mediating the detection, localization and recognition of sounds. We will discuss how acoustic signals are coded by auditory neurons, the impact of these codes on behavioral performance, and the circuitry and cellular mechanisms underlying signal transformations. Topics include temporal coding, neural maps and feature detectors, learning and plasticity, and feedback control. General principles are conveyed by theme discussions of auditory masking, sound localization, musical pitch, speech coding, and cochlear implants.


Prof. Bertrand Delgutte
Prof. M. Christian Brown
Prof. John Guinan, Jr.
Prof. Jennifer Melcher
Prof. Andrew Oxenham

Course Meeting Times

Two sessions / week
2 hours / session

Arranged on an individual basis




Send feedback about OCW or this course.