Neural Pathways for Hearing

Sensory neurons in the vestibulocochlear nerve (VIII) synapse with neurons in the medulla oblongata that project to the inferior colliculus of the midbrain (fig. 10.23). Neurons in this area, in turn, project to the thalamus, which sends axons to the auditory cortex of the temporal lobe. By means of this pathway, neurons in different regions of the basilar membrane stimulate neurons in corresponding areas of the auditory cortex. Each area of this cortex thus represents a different part of the basilar membrane and a different pitch (fig. 10.24).

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