AUDITORY AND VESTIBULAR SYSTEMSSpecificity of experience-dependent pitch representation in the brainstemXu, Yishenga; Krishnan, Ananthanarayanb; Gandour, Jackson T.bAuthor Information aCenter for Neural Basis of Cognition, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania bDepartment of Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA Correspondence and requests for reprints to Professor Jackson T. Gandour, PhD, Purdue University, Department of Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences, 1353 Heavilon Hall, 500 Oval Drive, West Lafayette 47907-2038, IN, USA Tel: +1 765 494 3821; fax: +1 765 494 0771; e-mail: [email protected] This article is based on part of a doctoral dissertation completed by the first author at Purdue University in December 2005. Y.X. is currently a postdoctoral trainee in the Center for Neural Basis of Cognition at Carnegie Mellon University. Sponsorship: Purdue Research Foundation dissertation grant (J.G.); NIH research grant R01 DC04584-05 (J.G.). Received 19 July 2006; accepted 24 July 2006 NeuroReport: October 23, 2006 - Volume 17 - Issue 15 - p 1601-1605 doi: 10.1097/01.wnr.0000236865.31705.3a Buy Metrics Abstract Crosslanguage comparisons of brainstem-evoked potentials have revealed experience-dependent plasticity in pitch representation for curvilinear f0 contours representative of Mandarin tones. To assess the tolerance limits of this experience-dependent selectivity, we evaluated cross-linguistically (Chinese, English) the pitch strength and tracking accuracy of linear rising and falling f0 ramps representative of Mandarin tones 2 and 4. No crosslanguage differences in pitch strength or accuracy were observed for either tone, indicating that stimuli with linear rising/falling ramps elicit homogeneous pitch representations at the level of the brainstem regardless of language experience. We conclude that pitch extraction at the brainstem level is critically dependent on specific dimensions of pitch contours that native speakers have been exposed to in natural speech contexts. © 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.