Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

ABSTRACTAnimal models are widely used to examine the neurophysiological basis of human pitch perception, and it is therefore important to understand the similarities and differences in pitch processing across species. Pitch discrimination performance is usually measured using two-alternative forced choice (2AFC) procedures in humans and go/no-go tasks in animals, potentially confounding human-to-animal comparisons. We have previously shown that pitch discrimination thresholds of ferrets on a 2AFC task are markedly poorer than those reported for go/no-go tasks in other non-human species (Walker et al., 2009). To better compare the pitch discrimination performance of ferret with other species, here we measure pitch change detection thresholds of ferrets and humans on a common, appetitive go/no-go task design. We found that ferrets’ pitch thresholds were ~10 times larger than that of humans on the go/no-go task, and were within the range of thresholds reported in other non-human species. Interestingly, ferrets’ thresholds were 100 times larger than human thresholds on a 2AFC pitch discrimination task using the same stimuli. These results emphasize that sensory discrimination thresholds can differ across tasks, particularly for non-human animals. Performance on our go/no-go task is likely to reflect different neurobiological processes than that on our 2AFC task, as the former required the subjects only to detect a pitch change while the latter required them to label the direction of the pitch change.ABBREVIATIONS2AFC2-Alternative Forced ChoiceF0Fundamental FrequencyHIGHLIGHTSPitch discrimination thresholds of ferrets were 10 times larger than those of humans on a go/no-go taskFerrets’ pitch thresholds are similar to those reported for a range of other mammalsPitch thresholds of ferrets, but not humans, were drastically better on the go/no-go task than a 2AFC task using the same stimuli

Original publication




Working paper

Publication Date