News of the WeekNeuroscience

Location Neurons Do Advanced Math

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Science  13 Apr 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5515, pp. 185
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5515.185a

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An owl knows where to aim its talons to catch a mouse even in the dark, thanks in part to a precise map of auditory space engraved in its brain's inferior colliculus, located in the brainstem. Now researchers report on page 249 that space-specific neurons in this map can perform more sophisticated computations than are commonly credited to neurons: Most neurons simply add incoming signals to come up with an answer, but neurons in the owl's auditory map multiply.