- Use promo code PRIMEBOOKS18 to save $5.00 when you spend $20.00 or more on Books offered by Amazon.com. Enter code PRIMEBOOKS18 at checkout. Here's how (restrictions apply)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.90 shipping
Auditory Neuroscience: Making Sense of Sound (The MIT Press) Paperback – August 17, 2012
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Special offers and product promotions
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 (Endorsement)
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
It goes far beyond the standard textbook treatment by introducing key recent advances wherever those affect the fundamentals of the story.
Quite a few fairly difficult ideas are involved, and the book's depth and compression could make it hard going for nonspecialist undergraduates. But it does repay effort.
Schupp, Nelken, and King simply do a fantastic job of not only creating an informative book about the complicated and intricate system of processing sound, but make it interesting and simple enough for just about anyone to read. When I first purchased the book, I assumed it would be a textbook not just because of it look, but just the title in general sounded like I was in for a long and dull road ahead. And while this book is chuck full of factual information, it maintains a colloquial feel, leaving it interesting to the reader. Needless to say, I am glad I was wrong. So, I would recommend this book to not just people studying neuroscience, but anyone who is interested in the inner workings of the brain. It breaks down the core scientific concepts of how the brain processes sound into easy to understand language.
The book is divided into 8 parts covering various aspects of the auditory system and I will cover what I felt was most relevant. They begin the book with an overview of the process, followed by a step by step process from the ear to how the sounds are learned.
"Why Things Sound the Way They Do"
They begin by explaining the differences between the sounds used in labs and the sounds heard in the real world. They sum the differences down to one distinct reason: vibration. The vibrations of different objects lend us to be able to tell the difference between materials, speeds, and other properties of the source. All of a sudden as I am reading this section, they throw a bunch of trig and algebra at me and I was taken aback by the sudden shift in speech. They then close the section with, "Does this sound a little complicated and awkward?"..."Our ears have no such difficulty". This introduces the book's feel to the reader and let's the reader know the complexity at which our brain and ear perform. The rest of the chapter explains different types of spectrograms, and just how they process sound.
Now that the components of sound are thoroughly explained to the reader, the authors detail how those sounds are processed once they reach the ear. This chapter starts more as a physiology lesson more than neuroscience, but for good reason. They do a great job of getting to the point for every stage of the ear and what its job is. They make good comparisons to other animals that have better hearing and why that is so. The more notable parts of the ear in this book are the basal membrane and the cochlea. The authors explain how these parts take a sound and turn it into a signal, and what can possibly inhibit these organs. The chapter ends off explaining how the hair cells transmit the data from the inner ear to the brain.
This section was particularly interesting because it is the reason I am reading the book. I was looking to understand the "Phonemic Restoration Effect" or more simply put, what the brain does when a syllable is missing in a spoken word in order to fill in the missing sound. The authors first develop the difference between words and sounds. This is an important distinction not only because they are processed in different parts of the brain but because they have to be differentiated in order for language to exist. They cleverly detail how naturally humans process language from even a young age stating, "Even the most monosyllabic of human teenagers readily appreciates that the meaning of the sentence `John eats and then flies' is very different from that of `And then John eats flies'". They go on to explain the ways the brain makes decisions about what is being spoken. While the complexity is overwhelming and they openly admit much is still unknown, they do a solid job explaining how complex the process of auditory communication is.
"Development, Learning, and Plasticity"
This chapter has been what the whole books seems to lead up to. Now that the reader knows the fundamentals of auditory processing, the authors apply all of that knowledge to how we develop it gradually starting in the womb. While we are not fully aware of why this occurs but after a year, human infants lose the ability to naturally speak certain phonemes that they have not learned. The authors then explain why this is not because of solely the motor cortex, but because the auditory cortex loses its trigger to be stimulated by certain phonemes. This theory was mentioned earlier in the book, but now seems more prevalent as well as tie everything together.
Auditory Protheses: From the Lab to the Clinic and Back Again
The technology in the field is rapidly growing and this chapter could very well already be out of date. They compare the differences between the old technology and what is available now to patients with various conditions. The authors spend a great deal of time detailing cochlear implants. They cover how impressive they are as well as their limitations. This chapter would be particularly useful to people considering getting an implant and would like to know just what it does and how it works.
I read this book with the intention of learning more about why the "Phonemic Restoration Effect" occurs. This book was the perfect background for the topic and while it didn't cover all of what I need, was definitely a worthwhile read to understand how the effect works. I think a background in neuroscience and/or physics is very helpful when reading this book, but not necessary. For readers about to take on reading this book, I would advise not getting caught up in the heavy math the authors are going to throw at you. The important concepts that you are supposed to extract from the math are detailed for you in simpler terms. Also, as you read I would suggest really thinking about how this applies in real life, because only then does the information stick. Hope anyone who reads this enjoys it as well.
I currently recommend it as the core introductory text to all undergraduates doing auditory projects under my supervision, and recently lent it to my parents (neither of whom are scientists) to give them a sense of what it is I do. The response from everyone who has read it has been extremely positive, which I suspect is because the authors manage to make the complex both simple and interesting.
In my own experience, I've also found this book to be an excellent reference tool, providing a broader context for the work I do, and with a layout that enables you to quickly find the citation that you just can't quite remember. I suspect that in the future this book will become a mandatory text for all courses related to auditory neuroscience, but in the meantime, it provides a relatively easy way to get one step ahead of everybody else!