Measuring auditory cortical responses in Tursiops truncatus

Matt D. Schalles, Dorian S. Houser, James J. Finneran, Peter Tyack, Barbara Shinn-Cunningham, Jason Mulsow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Auditory neuroscience in dolphins has largely focused on auditory brainstem responses; however, such measures reveal little about the cognitive processes dolphins employ during echolocation and acoustic communication. The few previous studies of mid- and long-latency auditory-evoked potentials (AEPs) in dolphins report different latencies, polarities, and magnitudes. These inconsistencies may be due to any number of differences in methodology, but these studies do not make it clear which methodological differences may account for the disparities. The present study evaluates how electrode placement and pre-processing methods affect mid- and long-latency AEPs in (Tursiops truncatus). AEPs were measured when reference electrodes were placed on the skin surface over the forehead, the external auditory meatus, or the dorsal surface anterior to the dorsal fin. Data were pre-processed with or without a digital 50-Hz low-pass filter, and the use of independent component analysis to isolate signal components related to neural processes from other signals. Results suggest that a meatus reference electrode provides the highest quality AEP signals for analyses in sensor space, whereas a dorsal reference yielded nominal improvements in component space. These results provide guidance for measuring cortical AEPs in dolphins, supporting future studies of their cognitive auditory processing.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology A
VolumeFirst Online
Early online date30 Jul 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Jul 2021


  • Auditory-evoked potential
  • Dolphin
  • EEG
  • Auditory cortical response


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