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Neuroscientist. 2003 Apr;9(2):127-43.

The lateral superior olive: a functional role in sound source localization.

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Department of Physiology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 53706, USA.


Sound location in azimuth is signaled by differences in the times of arrival (interaural time difference, ITDs) and the amplitudes (interaural level differences, ILDs) of the stimuli at the ears. Psychophysical studies have shown that low- and high-frequency sounds are localized based on ITDs and ILDs, respectively, suggesting that dual mechanisms mediate localization. The anatomical and physiological bases for this "duplex theory" of localization are found in the medial (MSO) and lateral (LSO) superior olives, two of the most peripheral sites in the ascending auditory pathway receiving inputs from both ears. The MSO and LSO are believed to be responsible for the initial encoding of ITDs and ILDs, respectively. Here the author focuses on ILDs as a cue to location and the role of the LSO in encoding ILDs. Evidence from disparate fields of study supports the hypothesis that the LSO is the initial ILD processor in the mammalian auditory system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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