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Behav Neurosci. 1991 Jun;105(3):416-30.

Habituation produces frequency-specific plasticity of receptive fields in the auditory cortex.

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Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, University of California, Irvine 92717.


Associative learning produces conditioned stimulus (CS)-specific plasticity of frequency receptive fields (RFs) in the auditory cortex; responses to the CS frequency are increased, whereas responses to other frequencies are decreased. This study determined the effects of habituation on the RF of neurons in the auditory cortex of the guinea pig (Cavia porcellus). One frequency was presented repeatedly (REP) followed by redetermination of the RF. After REP, 26/36 (72%) RFs exhibited a substantial reduction (70-75%) of response to the repeated frequency, and this was highly specific (bandwidth less than 0.125 octave). This RF plasticity involves an initial decrease in response during REP but does not require attenuated responses at the end of REP. Incubation (i.e., development over time after cessation of REP) and long-term frequency-specific effects are evident. Thus, habituation induces a specific change in the processing of frequency information rather than a general reduction in responsivity.

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