Influences of Early Acoustic Experience on Sensory Perception

Yoon Han : Computer Science

Mentor: Professor Shaowen Bao, Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute

As part of Professor Shaowen Bao’s lab, Yoon will expand our understanding of the influence of sensory input on information processing during an epoch of early development known as the “critical period”. At the behavioral level, he will investigate how early experience of single-frequency tone pips influences frequency discrimination ability in rats. At the physiological level, he will examine the auditory cortex (A1) of tone-exposed rats to extract response properties of the cortical neurons, such as the characteristic frequency, spontaneous firing rate, maximum firing rate, and tuning bandwidth. At the systems level, he will simulate the auditory cortex with a population of model neurons using computational methods with previously extracted properties. By creating a model of the perceptual discrimination process, Yoon will investigate how repeated exposures to a sound influence perception discrimination of acoustically similar sounds.