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J Neurophysiol. 2006 Mar;95(3):1826-42. Epub 2005 Oct 12.

Representation of eye position in primate inferior colliculus.

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Dept. of Psychological and Brain Sciences, 6207 Moore Hall, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755, USA.


We studied the representation of eye-position information in the primate inferior colliculus (IC). Monkeys fixated visual stimuli at one of eight or nine locations along the horizontal meridian between -24 and 24 degrees while sounds were presented from loudspeakers at locations within that same range. Approximately 40% of our sample of 153 neurons showed statistically significant sensitivity to eye position during either the presentation of an auditory stimulus or in the absence of sound (Bonferroni corrected P < 0.05). The representation for eye position was predominantly monotonic and favored contralateral eye positions. Eye-position sensitivity was more prevalent among neurons without sound-location sensitivity: about half of neurons that were insensitive to sound location were sensitive to eye position, whereas only about one-quarter of sound-location-sensitive neurons were also sensitive to eye position. Our findings suggest that sound location and eye position are encoded using independent but overlapping rate codes at the level of the IC. The use of a common format has computational advantages for integrating these two signals. The differential distribution of eye-position sensitivity and sound-location sensitivity suggests that this process has begun by the level of the IC but is not yet complete at this stage. We discuss how these signals might fit into Groh and Sparks' vector subtraction model for coordinate transformations.

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