University of Minnesota
Department of Psychology

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Andrew J Oxenham

Andrew J. Oxenham

Andrew J Oxenham

Dept of Psychology N249 Elliott Hall 75 E River Rd

Department Affiliations


The main interests of my research group lie in the area of auditory perception, which involves discovering how the ear and brain interact in allowing us to make sense of the acoustic environment. Applications of this research include auditory prostheses, such as hearing aids and cochlear implants, and robust automatic speech recognition.

One major topic of research in the group involves pitch perception. Pitch is important for understanding speech, listening to music, and for hearing out one sound in the presence of other competing sounds. How pitch is coded in the auditory system is still not fully understood, and we believe that a better understanding could lead to substantial improvements in cochlear-implant systems, most of which currently provide very limited pitch information to implant users.

Another ongoing topic involves developing behavioral methods that allow us to investigate different aspects of inner-ear (or cochlear) function, such as the non-linear amplification that occurs in a healthy ear. Hearing impairment can result from many different types of cochlear damage. Understanding more about the perceptual consequences of different types of hearing loss should lead to improvements in our ability to treat hearing loss on an individual basis.

We also study how different auditory cues, such as pitch and spatial location, are combined within the auditory system to enable us to attend to some sounds, while ignoring others. This classic "cocktail party problem" has still not been solved, and is a major limiting factor in the ability of automatic speech recognition systems to function in everyday situations, where interfering sounds must be filtered out. Our work combines behavioral tests in humans and, in collaboration with others, functional imaging studies (fMRI and MEG) to elucidate the underlying principles of auditory scene analysis.

Our work is funded primarily by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.


  • Psychoacoustics
  • Hearing impairment and cochlear implants
  • Psychology of music

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: University of Cambridge, 1995.


  • Wang, N., Kreft, H., and Oxenham, A. J. (2012). Vowel enhancement effects in cochlear-implant users. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 131, EL421-EL426.
  • Riecke, L., Micheyl, C., and Oxenham, A. J. (2012). Global not local masker features govern the auditory continuity illusion. Journal of Neuroscience 32, 4660-4664.
  • Oxenham, A. J., Micheyl, C., Keebler, M. V., Loper, A., Santurette, S. (2011). Pitch perception beyond the traditional existence region of pitch. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 108, 7629-7634.
  • McDermott, J. H., Lehr, A. J., and Oxenham, A. J. (2010). Individual differences reveal the basis of consonance. Current Biology, 20, 1035-1041.
  • Elhilali, M., Ma, L., Micheyl, C., Oxenham, A. J., and Shamma, S. (2009). Temporal coherence in the perceptual organization and cortical representation of auditory scenes. Neuron, 61, 317-329.
  • McDermott, J. H., Lehr, A. J., and Oxenham, A. J. (2008). Is relative pitch specific to pitch?. Psychological Science, 19, 1263-1271.
  • Gutschalk, A., Micheyl, C., and Oxenham, A. J. (2008). Neural correlates of auditory perceptual awareness under informational masking. PLoS Biology, 6, 1156-1165 (e138).
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