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Hear Res. 1990 Dec;50(1-2):97-105.

Neurons in the inferior colliculus of cats sensitive to sound-source elevation.

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Department of Physiology, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.


The sensitivity to variations in sound-source elevation was studied in 48 units, previously examined as to their azimuthal sensitivity, of the inferior colliculi of cats. Of these units, 36 were directionally-sensitive (firing rate varied by more than 50% across the range of positions studied) to both azimuthal and elevational changes. Elevation sensitivity was common to noise stimuli (19/25 units) and pure tones in excess of 6 kHz (17/17 units). Not one of the 8 azimuth-sensitive units with CFs below 6 kHz was directionally-sensitive to the elevation of CF stimuli. The 4 units omnidirectional to azimuthal variation were similarly insensitive to elevation. The shapes of functions relating sound-source elevation to spike count (elevation functions) varied across an apparent continuum, with some very sharply-peaked functions being observed. Peak spike counts almost invariably occurred at stimulus elevations above the horizontal plane. Comparisons of the widths of elevation and azimuth functions at the same sound pressure level were made for 36 units. The relative sharpness of elevation and azimuthal tuning varied across the population. The common association of sensitivity to both azimuth and elevation suggests that elevation sensitivity may be mediated partly by binaural comparisons.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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