Psychophysical studies are mainly carried out in Newcastle and in London. We have a longstanding interest in pitch perception. We also work with stimuli to examine the analysis of auditory patterns that are relevant to the perception of speech, music, environmental sounds and auditory space. This has required the development of stimuli in which timbral properties are manipulated systematically and also the development of stimuli to allow investigation of the analysis of pitch sequences, auditory timing and rhythm. This work yields information about the normal system and allows the development of stimuli used in functional imaging and studies of patients.


Functional imaging studies are carried out at the Wellcome Department of Neuroimaging at UCL, London and at Newcastle University. Current functional MRI (fMRI) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) studies address bases for pitch and auditory object perception, auditory memory and auditory emotion.


Patients are studied at the Department of Neurosurgery in Iowa who have depth electrodes implanted into auditory cortex and surface electrodes over the outside of the temporal lobe. The procedure is carried out in order to localize the source of epilepsy, but also allows research to be carried out to measure brain responses directly during sound analysis. Current studies address bases for pitch and auditory object perception.


Functional imaging and human neurophysiology allow the recording of brain activity from certain brain sites. Modelling can reveal functional interactions between brain areas in order to define brain systems. We have applied this approach to fMRI data to reveal systems for timbre and emotional sound analysis and to human neurophysiological data to reveal a system for pitch perception.


We carry out work on tinnitus and hallucinations using functional imaging to define the brain mechanisms. Current work on development addresses the link between auditory analysis and phonological skill that might go wrong in developmental disorders. We have also carried out a number of studies to examine the deficit and brain abnormality in subjects with tone deafness. A number of collaborative studies examine deficits in pitch, timbre and rhythm caused by lesions or degenerative disorders.