Relating approach-to-target and detection tasks in animal psychoacoustics

Sollini, J., Alves-Pinto, A. and Sumner, C.J. ORCID: 0000-0002-2573-7418, 2016. Relating approach-to-target and detection tasks in animal psychoacoustics. Behavioral Neuroscience, 130 (4), pp. 393-405. ISSN 0735-7044

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Psychophysical experiments seek to measure the limits of perception. While straightforward in humans, in animals they are time consuming. Choosing an appropriate task and interpreting measurements can be challenging. We investigated the localization of high-frequency auditory signals in noise using an “approach-to-target” task in ferrets, how task performance should be interpreted in terms of perception, and how the measurements relate to other types of tasks. To establish their general ability to localize, animals were first trained to discriminate broadband noise from 12 locations. Subsequently we tested their ability to discriminate between band-limited targets at 2 or 3 more widely spaced locations, in a continuous background noise. The ability to discriminate between 3 possible locations (−90°, 0°, 90°) of a 10-kHz pure tone decreased gradually over a wide range (>30 dB) of signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs). Location discrimination ability was better for wide band noise targets (0.5 and 2 octave). These results were consistent with localization ability limiting performance for pure tones. Discrimination of pure tones at 2 locations (−90/left, 90/right) was robust at positive SNRs, yielding psychometric functions which fell steeply at negative SNRs. Thresholds for discrimination were similar to previous tone-in-noise thresholds measured in ferrets using a yes/no task. Thus, using an approach-to-target task, sound “localization” in noise can reflect detectability or the ability to localize, depending on the stimulus configuration. Signal-detection-theory-based models were able to account for the results when discriminating between pure tones from 2- and 3-source locations.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Behavioral Neuroscience
Creators: Sollini, J., Alves-Pinto, A. and Sumner, C.J.
Publisher: American Psychological Association
Date: August 2016
Volume: 130
Number: 4
ISSN: 0735-7044
2016-24681-001Publisher Item Identifier
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 27 Feb 2019 09:02
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2019 08:24

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