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Wiegrebe, Lutz ORCID: 0000-0002-9289-6187; Sonnleitner, Veronika (2007): Perceptual interaction between carrier periodicity and amplitude-modulation in the gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus). In: Journal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology, Vol. 193, No. 3: pp. 305-312
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Due to its extended low-frequency hearing, the Mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus) has become a well-established animal model for human auditory processing. Here, two experiments are presented which quantify the gerbil's sensitivity to amplitude modulation (AM) and carrier periodicity (CP) in broad-band stimuli. Two additional experiments investigate a possible interaction of the two types of periodicity. The results show that overall sensitivity to AM and CP is considerably less than in humans (by at least 10 dB). The gerbil's amplitude-modulation sensitivity is almost independent of modulation frequency up to a modulation frequency of 1 kHz. Above, amplitude-modulation sensitivity deteriorates dramatically. On the basis of individual animals, carrier-periodicity detection may improve with increasing fundamental frequency up to about 500 Hz or may be independent of fundamental frequency. Amplitude-modulation thresholds are consistent with the hypothesis that intensity difference limens in the gerbil may be considerably worse than in humans, leading to the relative insensitivity for low modulation frequencies. Unlike in humans, inner-ear filtering appears not to limit amplitude-modulation sensitivity in the gerbil. Carrier-periodicity sensitivity changes with fundamental frequency similar to humans. Unlike in humans, there is no systematic interaction between AM and CP in the gerbil. This points to a relatively independent processing of the perceptual cues associated with AM and CP.