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Brain Res. 2006 Oct 9;1114(1):63-74. Epub 2006 Aug 17.

Is duration tuning a transient process in the inferior colliculus of guinea pigs?

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School of Human Communication Disorders, Dalhousie University, 5599 Fenwick Street, Halifax, Canada NS B3H 1R2.


Duration selectivity appears to be a fundamental neural encoding mechanism found throughout the animal kingdom. Previous studies reported that band-pass duration-tuned neurons typically show offset responses and occupy a small portion of auditory neurons in non-echolocation mammals relative to echolocation bats. Therefore, duration tuning is generally weaker in non-echolocation mammals. In the present study, duration tuning was analyzed for 207 neurons recorded in the inferior colliculus (IC) of guinea pigs. Duration tuning was found to be stronger in the onset component of the responses from sustained, on-off and pause neurons than had been reported previously, when a short analysis window was applied. The need for an appropriate time window for duration tuning analysis was also supported by the fact that the on and off responses from an on-off neuron may show different duration tuning features. Therefore, duration tuning appears to be a transient neural coding process in the IC of guinea pigs. Duration tuning for these types of neurons may have been blurred by the use of a relatively unselective, long window.

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