Biological Cybernetics

, Volume 112, Issue 6, pp 575–584 | Cite as

Auditory gap detection: psychometric functions and insights into the underlying neural activity

  • Shuji Mori
  • Yousuke Kikuchi
  • Nobuyuki Hirose
  • Hugo Lepage
  • Willy WongEmail author
Original Article


The detection of a silent interval or gap provides important insight into temporal processing by the auditory system. Previous research has uncovered a multitude of empirical findings leaving the mechanism of gap detection poorly understood and key issues unresolved. Here, we expand the findings by measuring psychometric functions for a number of conditions including both across-frequency and across-intensity gap detection as a first study of its kind. A model is presented which not only accounts for our findings in a quantitative manner, but also helps frame the body of work on auditory gap research. The model is based on the peripheral response and postulates that the identification of gap requires the detection of activity associated with silence.


Auditory channels Gap detection Peripheral neural activity Modelling 


Compliance with ethical standards


The research was supported by a research grant from the Kawai Foundation for Sound Technology and Music, Grants-in-Aid of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science for Scientific Research 25240023 and 21330169 to S.M., Grants-in-Aid of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science for Scientific Research 25350017 to N.H. and a Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada Discovery Grant 458039 to W.W.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shuji Mori
    • 1
  • Yousuke Kikuchi
    • 2
    • 3
  • Nobuyuki Hirose
    • 1
  • Hugo Lepage
    • 4
    • 5
  • Willy Wong
    • 6
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Informatics, Faculty of Information Science and Electrical EngineeringKyushu UniversityNishi-kuJapan
  2. 2.Department of Informatics, Graduate School of Information Science and Electrical EngineeringKyushu UniversityNishi-kuJapan
  3. 3.Rion Co., Ltd.KokubunjiJapan
  4. 4.Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  5. 5.Cavendish LaboratoryUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  6. 6.Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical EngineeringUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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