Emergence of abstract sound representations in the ascending auditory system

Mor Harpaz, Maciej M. Jankowski, Leila Khouri, Israel Nelken*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Auditory processing begins by decomposing sounds into their frequency components, raising the question of where the representation of sounds as wholes emerges in the auditory system. To address this question, we used stimulus-specific adaptation (SSA), the reduction in the responses of a neuron to a common sound (standard) which does not generalize to another, rare sound (deviant). SSA to tone frequency has been demonstrated in multiple stations of the auditory pathway, including the inferior colliculus (IC), medial geniculate body (MGB) and auditory cortex. We designed wideband stimuli (tone clouds) that have identical frequency components but are nevertheless distinct. Tone clouds evoked early and substantial SSA in primary auditory cortex (A1) but only late and minor SSA in IC and MGB. These results imply that while in IC and MGB sounds are largely represented in terms of their frequency components, in A1 they are represented as abstract entities.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number102049
JournalProgress in Neurobiology
Volume202
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the entire Nelken lab for their support. This work was supported by grants from the Israel Science Foundation ( 390/2013 ) and the European Research Council (AdERC, project RATLAND) , as well as by a grant from the Gatsby Charitable Foundation . IN holds the Milton and Brindell Gottlieb chair in Brain Science at the Hebrew University.

Funding Information:
We thank the entire Nelken lab for their support. This work was supported by grants from the Israel Science Foundation (390/2013) and the European Research Council (AdERC, project RATLAND), as well as by a grant from the Gatsby Charitable Foundation. IN holds the Milton and Brindell Gottlieb chair in Brain Science at the Hebrew University.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Auditory cortex
  • Auditory thalamus
  • Complex sounds
  • Inferior colliculus
  • Neuropixels probes
  • Rats
  • Stimulus-specific adaptation

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