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Auditory spatial acuity approximates the resolving power of space-specific neurons

Bala, Avinash, Spitzer, Matt, & Takahashi, Terry (2007) Auditory spatial acuity approximates the resolving power of space-specific neurons. PLoS One, 2(8), pp. 1-9.

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Abstract

The relationship between neuronal acuity and behavioral performance was assessed in the barn owl (Tyto alba), a nocturnal raptor renowned for its ability to localize sounds and for the topographic representation of auditory space found in the midbrain. We measured discrimination of sound-source separation using a newly developed procedure involving the habituation and recovery of the pupillary dilation response. The smallest discriminable change of source location was found to be about two times finer in azimuth than in elevation. Recordings from neurons in its midbrain space map revealed that their spatial tuning, like the spatial discrimination behavior, was also better in azimuth than in elevation by a factor of about two. Because the PDR behavioral assay is mediated by the same circuitry whether discrimination is assessed in azimuth or in elevation, this difference in vertical and horizontal acuity is likely to reflect a true difference in sensory resolution, without additional confounding effects of differences in motor performance in the two dimensions. Our results, therefore, are consistent with the hypothesis that the acuity of the midbrain space map determines auditory spatial discrimination.

Impact and interest:

20 citations in Scopus
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21 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 44823
Item Type: Journal Article
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0000675
ISSN: 1932-6203
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES (070000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > CLINICAL SCIENCES (110300)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NEUROSCIENCES (110900)
Deposited On: 25 Aug 2011 08:14
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2012 00:11

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