Parallel Auditory Filtering By Sustained and Transient Channels Separates Coarticulated Vowels and Consonants
Cohen, Michael A.
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A neural model of peripheral auditory processing is described and used to separate features of coarticulated vowels and consonants. After preprocessing of speech via a filterbank, the model splits into two parallel channels, a sustained channel and a transient channel. The sustained channel is sensitive to relatively stable parts of the speech waveform, notably synchronous properties of the vocalic portion of the stimulus it extends the dynamic range of eighth nerve filters using coincidence deteectors that combine operations of raising to a power, rectification, delay, multiplication, time averaging, and preemphasis. The transient channel is sensitive to critical features at the onsets and offsets of speech segments. It is built up from fast excitatory neurons that are modulated by slow inhibitory interneurons. These units are combined over high frequency and low frequency ranges using operations of rectification, normalization, multiplicative gating, and opponent processing. Detectors sensitive to frication and to onset or offset of stop consonants and vowels are described. Model properties are characterized by mathematical analysis and computer simulations. Neural analogs of model cells in the cochlear nucleus and inferior colliculus are noted, as are psychophysical data about perception of CV syllables that may be explained by the sustained transient channel hypothesis. The proposed sustained and transient processing seems to be an auditory analog of the sustained and transient processing that is known to occur in vision.