Research Article

Auditory Spatial Receptive Fields Created by Multiplication

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Science  13 Apr 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5515, pp. 249-252
DOI: 10.1126/science.1059201

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Examples of multiplication by neurons or neural circuits are scarce, although many computational models use this basic operation. The owl's auditory system computes interaural time (ITD) and level (ILD) differences to create a two-dimensional map of auditory space. Space-specific neurons are selective for combinations of ITD and ILD, which define, respectively, the horizontal and vertical dimensions of their receptive fields. A multiplication of separate postsynaptic potentials tuned to ITD and ILD, rather than an addition, can account for the subthreshold responses of these neurons to ITD-ILD pairs. Other nonlinear processes improve the spatial tuning of the spike output and reduce the fit to the multiplicative model.

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