The biological importance of the auditory system of vertebrates lies in its ability to provide animals with information about where sounds arise and what the sounds mean. The auditory system can alert animals to the presence of danger or prey in the dark and around corners. In many animals, sounds also serve as a basis for communication. The ear transduces the mechanical energy in sound into electrical signals that provide the brain with an ongoing representation of the physical characteristics of sounds arriving at the two ears. The task of extracting useful information from the representation of the physical characteristics of sound, the location of its source, and its meaning, is a complex one to which mammals have devoted a significant proportion of their brains. This volume summarizes what is known about how this complex task is subdivided in mammals, and what is known about the roles of the individual brain nuclei in localizing and interpreting sounds.
KeywordsSound Source Auditory Cortex Auditory System Inferior Colliculus Cochlear Nucleus
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