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Computational Intelligence and Neuroscience
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 575716, 11 pages
Research Article

Prediction of Human's Ability in Sound Localization Based on the Statistical Properties of Spike Trains along the Brainstem Auditory Pathway

The School of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Tel Aviv University, 69978 Tel Aviv, Israel

Received 15 September 2013; Revised 6 February 2014; Accepted 2 March 2014; Published 31 March 2014

Academic Editor: Asohan Amarasingham

Copyright © 2014 Ram Krips and Miriam Furst. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The minimum audible angle test which is commonly used for evaluating human localization ability depends on interaural time delay, interaural level differences, and spectral information about the acoustic stimulus. These physical properties are estimated at different stages along the brainstem auditory pathway. The interaural time delay is ambiguous at certain frequencies, thus confusion arises as to the source of these frequencies. It is assumed that in a typical minimum audible angle experiment, the brain acts as an unbiased optimal estimator and thus the human performance can be obtained by deriving optimal lower bounds. Two types of lower bounds are tested: the Cramer-Rao and the Barankin. The Cramer-Rao bound only takes into account the approximation of the true direction of the stimulus; the Barankin bound considers other possible directions that arise from the ambiguous phase information. These lower bounds are derived at the output of the auditory nerve and of the superior olivary complex where binaural cues are estimated. An agreement between human experimental data was obtained only when the superior olivary complex was considered and the Barankin lower bound was used. This result suggests that sound localization is estimated by the auditory nuclei using ambiguous binaural information.