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Measuring Auditory Thresholds in Brushtail Possums (Trichosurus Vulpecula)

A total of 9 brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) were trained to perform a two-manipulanda, conditional discrimination task. The possums learned to press a right lever in the presence of a tone (80 dB(A)) during tone-on trials, and a left lever in the absence of the tone on tone-off trials. Overall sessions of 11 conditions contained tone frequency between 100 Hz and 35 kHz were tested. Each condition contained training and then probe sessions. In training sessions, the possums were presented with tone-on and tone-off trials, pseudo-randomly. Once the possums responded with over 90% accuracy for five consecutive sessions, then probe sessions were introduced. Probe sessions were similar to the training sessions, except that the tone intensity for tone-on trials was reduced by 8 dB(A) across blocks of 20 trials until their response accuracy in a block fall below 60% or reached 24 dB(A). Data were analysed using overall percentages correct and log d analysis. Both measures indicated that overall response accuracy decreased for all possum as tone intensity reduced. Based on these data analyses, threshold values were calculated using the criterions at 75% correct and a log d of 0.48. The threshold values for each possum and across all possums were plotted as a function of the tone frequency to produce an audiogram. A curvilinear regression was fitted for each threshold values. The functions of both measures were very similar. Both audiograms showed that the possums could hear the tones between 100 Hz and 35 kHz, and were most sensitive to tones between 15 and 20 kHz. This experiment involved many difficulties with producing and measuring tones especially outside of human hearing range. Due to these difficulties, several problems and concerns were raised during the experiment, these were discussed in this study and also recommendations for future research were then presented.
Type of thesis
Osugi, M. (2008). Measuring Auditory Thresholds in Brushtail Possums (Trichosurus Vulpecula) (Thesis, Master of Applied Psychology (MAppPsy)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/2422
The University of Waikato
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