Measurement of absolute auditory thresholds in the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus)

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The common marmoset is a small, arboreal, New World primate that has emerged as a promising non-human model system in auditory neuroscience. A complete understanding of the neuroethology of auditory processing in marmosets will include behavioral work examining how sounds are perceived by these animals. However, there have been few studies of the marmoset's hearing and perceptual abilities and the audiogram of this species has not been measured using modern psychophysical methods. The present experiment pairs psychophysics with an operant conditioning technique to examine perception of pure tone stimuli by marmosets using an active behavioral paradigm. Subjects were trained to lick at a feeding tube when they detected a sound. Correct responses provided access to a food reward. Pure tones of varying intensities were presented to subjects using the method of constant stimuli. Behavioral thresholds were calculated for each animal based on hit rate - threshold was defined by the tone intensity that the animal correctly identified 50% of the time. Results show that marmoset hearing is comparable to that of other New World monkeys, with a hearing range extending from about 125 Hz up to 36 kHz and a sensitivity peak around 7 kHz.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-133
Number of pages7
JournalHearing Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jul 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


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