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Hardcover | Out of Print | 368 pp. | 7 x 9 in | 117 b&w illus. | November 2010 | ISBN: 9780262113182
Paperback | $39.00 Short | £32.95 | 368 pp. | 7 x 9 in | 117 b&w illus. | August 2012 | ISBN: 9780262518024
eBook | $27.00 Short | August 2012 | ISBN: 9780262289931
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Auditory Neuroscience

Making Sense of Sound


Every time we listen—to speech, to music, to footsteps approaching or retreating—our auditory perception is the result of a long chain of diverse and intricate processes that unfold within the source of the sound itself, in the air, in our ears, and, most of all, in our brains. Hearing is an "everyday miracle" that, despite its staggering complexity, seems effortless. This book offers an integrated account of hearing in terms of the neural processes that take place in different parts of the auditory system.

Because hearing results from the interplay of so many physical, biological, and psychological processes, the book pulls together the different aspects of hearing—including acoustics, the mathematics of signal processing, the physiology of the ear and central auditory pathways, psychoacoustics, speech, and music—into a coherent whole.

About the Authors

Jan Schnupp is Professor of Neuroscience and Codirector of the Auditory Neuroscience Research Group in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy, and Genetics at Oxford University and a Fellow of St. Peter’s College.

Israel Nelken is Professor in the Department of Neurobiology in the Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences and a member of the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Andrew King is Professor of Neurophysiology, Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow, and Codirector of the Auditory Neuroscience Research Group in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy, and Genetics at Oxford University and a Fellow of Merton College.

Table of Contents

  • Auditory Neuroscience
  • Auditory Neuroscience
  • Making Sense of Sound
  • Jan Schnupp, Israel Nelken, and Andrew King
  • The MIT Press
  • Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • London, England
  • ©
  • 2011
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means (including photocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval) without permission in writing from the publisher.
  • For information about special quantity discounts, please email
  • This book was set in Stone Sans and Stone Serif by Toppan Best-set Premedia Limited. Printed and bound in the United States of America.
  • Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
  • Schnupp, Jan, 1966–
  • Auditory neuroscience : making sense of sound / Jan Schnupp, Israel Nelken, and Andrew King.
  •  p. cm.
  • Includes bibliographical references and index.
  • ISBN 978-0-262-11318-2 (hardcover : alk. paper) 1. Auditory perception. 2. Auditory pathways. 3. Hearing. I. Nelken, Israel, 1961– II. King, Andrew, 1959– III. Title.
  • QP461.S36 2011
  • 612.8′5—dc22
  • 2010011991
  • 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
  • Contents
  • Preface vii
  • 1 Why Things Sound the Way They Do 1
  • 2 The Ear 51
  • 3 Periodicity and Pitch Perception:
  • Physics, Psychophysics, and Neural Mechanisms 93
  • 4 Hearing Speech 139
  • 5 Neural Basis of Sound Localization 177
  • 6 Auditory Scene Analysis 223
  • 7 Development, Learning, and Plasticity 269
  • 8 Auditory Prostheses:
  • From the Lab to the Clinic and Back Again 295
  • Notes 321
  • References 323
  • Index 347


“This excellent book is valuable in providing a detailed view of auditory neuroscience.”—Joseph Lehmann, Pragmatics and Cognition


“This book is unique in its elegant unification of a broad view of the fundamentals of hearing with a highly sophisticated account of the current state of auditory neuroscience. Each chapter is a self-contained, coherent, and comprehensive account of a major attribute or function of hearing that takes the reader through an exciting journey of discovery, beginning with basic definitions and ending with a balanced critique of the diverse opinions and ideas that are typical of a lively field of investigation. In such a scientific endeavor, this book is a valuable guide for the novice and the expert alike.”
Shihab Shamma, Professor of Electrical Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park