Cortical computational maps control auditory perception

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Science  01 Feb 1991:
Vol. 251, Issue 4993, pp. 565-568
DOI: 10.1126/science.1990432


Mustached bats orient and find insects by emitting ultrasonic pulses and analyzing the returning echoes. Neurons in the Doppler-shifted constant-frequency (DSCF) and frequency-modulated (FM-FM) areas of the auditory cortex form maps of echo frequency (target velocity) and echo delay (target range), respectively. Bats were trained to discriminate changes in echo frequency or delay, and then these areas were selectively inactivated with muscimol. Inactivation of the DSCF area disrupted frequency but not delay discriminations; inactivation of the FM-FM area disrupted delay but not frequency discriminations. Thus, focal inactivation of specific cortical maps produces specific disruptions in the perception of biosonar signals.