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Asymmetric Cochlear Processing Mimics Hemispheric Specialization

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Science  10 Sep 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5690, pp. 1581
DOI: 10.1126/science.1100646

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Abstract

Otoacoustic emissions or OAEs (reflections of cochlear energy produced during the processing of sound) were measured in response to two types of stimuli, rapid clicks and sustained tones, in each ear of neonates. OAEs were larger to tones when elicited in the left ear and to clicks when elicited in the right. This finding is similar to those of enhanced processing of tones in right auditory cortical areas and of rapid stimuli on the left, given strong crossed connections from ear to brain. These findings indicate that processing at the level of the ear may facilitate lateralization of auditory function in the brain.

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