News of the WeekNeuroscience

Sight, Sound Converge in Owl's Mental Map

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Science  30 Aug 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5586, pp. 1462
DOI: 10.1126/science.297.5586.1462b

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Summary

The barn owl uses a mental map tuned to the location of sounds to guide it to its prey. This map requires visual information to continually update its accuracy, yet only now have researchers been able to find out how those visual cues reach the map. Now, on page 1556, neuroscientists report that they have discovered a "gate" in the brain that, when opened, allows the auditory map to receive the visual information it needs.