Hearing
Hearing

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Hearing

7.2.1 The ‘what’ pathway

The main nucleus involved in the ‘what’ pathway is the cochlear nucleus which has three main components, each of which is tonotopically organised; cells with progressively higher characteristic frequencies are arrayed in an orderly progression along one axis (Figure 29). The cochlear nuclei contain neurons of several types, each of which encodes a specific parameter of a stimulus (frequency, intensity, time): stellate cells encode stimulus frequency and intensity, bushy cells provide information about the timing of acoustical stimuli, and are involved in locating sound sources along the horizontal axis, and fusiform cells are thought to participate in the localization of sound sources along a vertical axis.

Figure 29
Figure 29 The representation of stimulus frequency in the cochlear nucleus. Stimulation with two sounds of different frequency causes vibration of the basilar membrane at two different positions (top). This in turn excites two distinct populations of afferent fibres, which project onto the cochlear nucleus in an orderly fashion
SD329_1

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, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 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 prospectus