Neural and Response Correlations to Complex Natural Sounds in the Auditory Midbrain.
Citable Link (URL):http://resolver.sub.uni-goettingen.de/purl?gs-1/14982
How natural communication sounds are spatially represented across the inferior colliculus, the main center of convergence for auditory information in the midbrain, is not known. The neural representation of the acoustic stimuli results from the interplay of locally differing input and the organization of spectral and temporal neural preferences that change gradually across the nucleus. This raises the question of how similar the neural representation of the communication sounds is across these gradients of neural preferences, and whether it also changes gradually. Analyzed neural recordings were multi-unit cluster spike trains from guinea pigs presented with a spectrotemporally rich set of eleven species-specific communication sounds. Using cross-correlation, we analyzed the response similarity of spiking activity across a broad frequency range for neurons of similar and different frequency tuning. Furthermore, we separated the contribution of the stimulus to the correlations to investigate whether similarity is only attributable to the stimulus, or, whether interactions exist between the multi-unit clusters that lead to neural correlations and whether these follow the same representation as the response correlations. We found that similarity of responses is dependent on the neurons' spatial distance for similarly and differently frequency-tuned neurons, and that similarity decreases gradually with spatial distance. Significant neural correlations exist, and contribute to the total response similarity. Our findings suggest that for multi-unit clusters in the mammalian inferior colliculus, the gradual response similarity with spatial distance to natural complex sounds is shaped by neural interactions and the gradual organization of neural preferences.