Send to

Choose Destination
Brain Res. 1988 Jul 19;456(1):127-38.

Auditory spatial sensitivity of inferior collicular neurons of echolocating bats.

Author information

Fachbereich Biologie (Zoologie), J.W. Goethe University, Frankfurt/Main, F.R.G.


The sensitivity of 94 inferior collicular (IC) neurons of Eptesicus fuscus and Myotis lucifugus to spatial location of the acoustic stimulus were studied under free-field stimulus conditions. The best frequency (BF) and minimum threshold (MT) of each neuron were determined with sound delivered in front of the bat. Then the variation in discharge rate of the neuron was measured with a BF sound broadcast from a moving loudspeaker at different angular positions along the horizontal, vertical or diagonal plane of the frontal auditory space. A wide range of stimulus intensities above the MT of the neuron was used. Neurons were classified into 3 classes on the basis of their spatial sensitivity: (1) omnisensitive neurons (15%) were broadly tuned to sound delivered in the frontal auditory space and their responses did not show any correlation with sound location; (2) stimulus intensity-dependent neurons (28%) varied their discharge rates with sound location and intensity so that the peak of their spatial response profiles also varied with stimulus intensity; and (3) stimulus intensity-independent neurons (57%) varied their discharge rates only with sound location over a wide range of stimulus intensities so that their peak discharge always appeared at the same or a small range of angle. In most cases, the medial limbs of the spatial sensitivity curve for these neurons were extremely sharp and congruent. By moving the loudspeaker along the horizontal, vertical and diagonal planes, it was possible to approximate the boundary of the spatial response area of a neuron. Most IC neurons responded to sound delivered within 20 degrees ipsilateral, 60 degrees contralateral, 45 degrees up and 40 degrees down of the frontal auditory space, confirming previous similar studies. In general, an increasing stimulus repetition rate appeared to sharpen the spatial sensitivity curve of a neuron. Conversely, an increasing moving velocity of the stimulus decreased its response. The possible role of these 3 classes of neurons in echolocation and neural mechanisms underlying the spatial sensitivity of these neurons is discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center