Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

7.4 Summary of Section 7

Fibres of the cochlear nerve synapse on the cells of the cochlear nuclear complex which is the first station of the central auditory pathway. From here signals are sent to the superior olivary complex, the inferior colliculus, lateral lemniscus, medial geniculate nucleus and finally the auditory cortex. The central role of the auditory cortex is the processing of complex sounds.

Each cochlear nuclear complex receives input from only one ear. In the cochlear nuclear complex are several different neural types that are responsible for extracting information about the spectral and temporal features of incoming sound.

Neurons in the superior olivary complex (SOC) are the first to receive input from both ears and are thought to play an important role in sound localization. The SOC processes information about interaural delays and intensities.

The inferior colliculus (IC) is a site for convergence of information. IC cells are organized in layers called sheets and within each sheet there appears to be a segregation of the EE and EI inputs. More complex aspects of a sound signal are processed in the IC and further features are extracted.

A tonotopic representation of frequency is seen at all levels of the auditory pathway.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371