Sparse coding in temporal association cortex improves complex sound discriminability

L. Feigin, G. Tasaka, I. Maor, A. Mizrahi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The mouse auditory cortex is comprised of several auditory fields spanning the dorsoventral axis of the temporal lobe. The ventral most auditory field is the temporal association cortex (TeA), which remains largely unstudied. Using Neuropixels probes, we simultaneously recorded from primary auditory cortex (AUDp), secondary auditory cortex (AUDv), and TeA, characterizing neuronal responses to pure tones and frequency modulated (FM) sweeps in awake head-restrained female mice. As compared with AUDp and AUDv, single-unit (SU) responses to pure tones in TeA were sparser, delayed, and prolonged. Responses to FMs were also sparser. Population analysis showed that the sparser responses in TeA render it less sensitive to pure tones, yet more sensitive to FMs. When characterizing responses to pure tones under anesthesia, the distinct signature of TeA was changed considerably as compared with that in awake mice, implying that responses in TeA are strongly modulated by non-feedforward connections. Together, these findings provide a basic electrophysiological description of TeA as an integral part of sound processing along the cortical hierarchy.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)7048-7064
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number33
StatePublished - 18 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the NVIDIA Corporation with the donation of the Titan Xp graphics processing unit (GPU) used for this research and the analysis of Neuropixels data. This work was also supported by a European Research Council Consolidator Grant 616063 (to A.M.), the Israeli Science Foundation Grant 224/17 (to A.M.), and the Gatsby Charitable Foundation. We thank members of the Mizrahi laboratory for comments on the manuscript and the Gatsby Foundation for partnering in the development of Neuropixels and providing access to engineering prototype probes. We also thank Howard Hughes Medical Institute Janelia and University College London for helpful discussion, the development of data acquisition and analysis tools, and training in the use of Neuropixels. The authors declare no competing financial interests. Correspondence should be addressed to Adi Mizrahi at Copyright © 2021 the authors

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2021 the authors.


  • Electrophysiology
  • Neuropixels
  • Sounds
  • Tea
  • auditory


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