Encoding of sound-source location and movement: Activity of single neurons and interactions between adjacent neurons in the monkey auditory cortex

M. Ahissar*, E. Ahissar, H. Bergman, E. Vaadia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

218 Scopus citations

Abstract

Neuronal mechanisms for decoding sound azimuth and angular movement were studied by recordings of several single units in parallel in the core areas of the auditory cortex of the macaque monkey. The activity of 180 units was recorded during the presentation of moving and static sound stimuli. Both the activity of single units and the interactions between neighboring neurons in response to each stimulus were analyzed. Sixty-two percent of the units showed significant modulation of their firing rates as a function of the stimulus azimuth. Contralateral stimuli were preferred by the majority (~60%) of these neurons. Thirty-five percent of the units showed mild but statistically significant modulation of their firing rates, which was specifically attributed to the angular movement of the sound source. Eighty- nine percent of the 'movement-sensitive' units were also 'azimuth sensitive.' The sound source's azimuth determined the pattern of the response components (on, sustained, off), whereas the source's movement affected only the magnitude of these components, typically the sustained component. Most neurons for which the sustained response to static sounds was greater for contralateral than ipsilateral stimuli preferred moving sounds that were moving into the contralateral hemifield. Cross-correlation analysis was carried out for 245 neuron pairs. Cross-correlograms were computed for each pair under all stimulus conditions to allow comparison of the neuronal interactions under the various conditions. The shapes of some correlograms (after subtraction of direct stimulus effects) were dependent on specific stimulus conditions, suggesting that the effective connectivity between these neurons depended on the location and/or movement of the sound stimuli. Furthermore, joint peristimulus time (JPST) analysis indicated that modifications of connectivity may be temporally related to the stimulus and may occur over short periods of time. These results could not have been predicted from analysis of the independent single-unit responses to the stimuli. The data suggest that both firing rates and correlated activity between adjacent neurons in the auditory cortex encode sound location and movement.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)203-215
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Volume67
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1992

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