Visual instruction of the neural map of auditory space in the developing optic tectum

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Science  05 Jul 1991:
Vol. 253, Issue 5015, pp. 85-87
DOI: 10.1126/science.2063209


Neural maps of visual and auditory space are aligned in the adult optic tectum. In barn owls, this alignment of sensory maps was found to be controlled during ontogeny by visual instruction of the auditory spatial tuning of neurons. Large adaptive changes in auditory spatial tuning were induced by raising owls with displacing prisms mounted in spectacle frames in front of the eyes; neurons became tuned to sound source locations corresponding to their optically displaced, rather than their normal, visual receptive field locations. The results demonstrate that visual experience during development calibrates the tectal auditory space map in a site-specific manner, dictating its topography and alignment with the visual space map.

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