Case studies in neuroscience: Cortical contributions to the frequency-following response depend on subcortical synchrony

Travis White-Schwoch, Jennifer Krizman, Trent Nicol, Nina Kraus*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Frequency-following responses to musical notes spanning the octave 65-130 Hz were elicited in a person with auditory neuropathy, a disorder of subcortical neural synchrony, and a control subject. No phaselocked responses were observed in the person with auditory neuropathy. The control subject had robust responses synchronized to the fundamental frequency and its harmonics. Cortical onset responses to each note in the series were present in both subjects. These results support the hypothesis that subcortical neural synchrony is necessary to generate the frequency-following response-including for stimulus frequencies at which a cortical contribution has been noted. Although auditory cortex ensembles may synchronize to fundamental frequency cues in speech and music, subcortical neural synchrony appears to be a necessary antecedent. NEW & NOTEWORTHY A listener with auditory neuropathy, an absence of subcortical neural synchrony, did not have electrophysiological frequency-following responses synchronized to an octave of musical notes, with fundamental frequencies ranging from 65 to 130 Hz. A control subject had robust responses that phaselocked to each note. Although auditory cortex may contribute to the scalp-recorded frequency-following response in healthy listeners, our results suggest this phenomenon depends on subcortical neural synchrony.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-281
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Auditory neuropathy
  • Auditory processing
  • Electrophysiology
  • Frequency-following response
  • Subcortical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Physiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Case studies in neuroscience: Cortical contributions to the frequency-following response depend on subcortical synchrony'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this