Aural representation in the Doppler-shifted-CF processing area of the auditory cortex of the mustache bat

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Science  21 Apr 1978:
Vol. 200, Issue 4339, pp. 339-342
DOI: 10.1126/science.635594


In the mustache bat (Pteronotus pamellii rubiginosus) the frequency and amplitude of an acoustic signal are represented in the coordinates parallel to the surface of the Doppler-shifted-CF (constant frequency) processing area ofthe primary auditory cortex. In this area all cortical neurons studied were excited by contralateral stimuli, and almost all of them were either excited or inhibited by ipsilateral stimuli. These are called E-E (ipsilateral and contralateral excitatory) and I-E (ipsilateral inhibitory and contralateral excitatory) neurons, respectively. The I-E neurons are directionally sensitive, while the E-E neurons are not. The E-E neurons are equally sensitive to echoes between 30° contralateral and 30° ipsilateral. Of the electrode penetrations orthogonal to the Doppler-shifted-CF processing area, 57 percent were characterized by either E-E or I-E neurons. Thus, there are at least two types of binaural columns: E-E columns, mainly located in a ventral part of the Doppler-shifted-CF processing area, where neurons are tuned to weak echoes; and IE columns, mainly distributed in a dorsal part, where neurons are tuned to moderate to intense echoes. Therefore, neurons tuned to weaker echoes integrate or even multiply faint signals from both ears for effective detection of a distant small target, while neurons tuned to moderate to intense echoes are suited for processing directional information and are stimulated when a bat approaches a target at short range. The Doppler-shifted-CF processing area may be considered to consist of two functional subdivisions.