Our key member Prof. Jufang He hosted a neuroscience research seminar "The neural processing and perception of pitch in complex sounds" at the Department of Rehabilitation, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Neuroscience Research Seminar
Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Date: 5 September 2013 (Thursday)
Time: 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Venue: ST522, PolyU


The neural processing and perception of pitch in complex sounds


The pitch, or tone height, of a sound is one of its fundamental perceptual properties, not unlike colour being a fundamental property of visual stimuli. For pure tones, the pitch is simply determined by the frequency of the tone, but 'real' sounds such as voices or sounds from musical instruments contain very many frequency components so there is no straightforward link between pitch and frequency. Pitch is therefore a complex perceptual property that the brain must 'create'. In music, pitch determines melody, but animals other than humans do not seem to compose melodies, so how can pitch perception have evolved? In my talk, I will review some of the key aspects of the pitch of complex sounds. I will also present work from our lab on experimental animals (ferrets) that sheds light on how pitch information is represented in neural responses in the auditory cortex, and how pitch representations interact with other key features of sounds, such as their timbre of their perceived spatial source location.

The Speaker:

Prof. Jan Schnupp was born in Munich, Germany, and earned a bachelor's degree in genetics at University College London and a DPhil in neurophysiology at the University of Oxford, UK. After postdoctoral work at Oxford and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the United States, he took up a faculty position at Oxford, where he now co-directs the Auditory Neuroscience Research Group.

The Host:

Prof. Jufang He's research interests include systems neuroscience and functional substitution. As a key member of cognitive computing lab, he is responsible for conducting research on neuroscience to investigate the fundamental questions of hearing, sleep, and learning and memory.

Dr. He is a Professor at the Department of Rehabilitation, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He obtained a B.Eng. and M.Eng. degree in Engineering at the Harbin Institute of Technology, a Doctoral Degree in Medical Science at the University of Tokushima, and a second Doctoral Degree in Engineering at the University of Tokyo, Japan. Before joining the Department in September 1998, Dr. He had worded at RIKEN (Japan), the University of Tokushima, and Advanced Research Laboratory, HITACHI Ltd, Japan. Dr. He developed the first telemetric system for measuring blood flow velocity and ECG from human subject during exercise. Recently he developed an electronic "bat ear" for people with visual impairments.