Temporal map formation in the barn owl's brain

Phys Rev Lett. 2001 Dec 10;87(24):248101. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.87.248101. Epub 2001 Nov 27.


Barn owls provide an experimentally well-specified example of a temporal map, a neuronal representation of the outside world in the brain by means of time. Their laminar nucleus exhibits a place code of interaural time differences, a cue which is used to determine the azimuthal location of a sound stimulus, e.g., prey. We analyze a model of synaptic plasticity that explains the formation of such a representation in the young bird and show how in a large parameter regime a combination of local and nonlocal synaptic plasticity yields the temporal map as found experimentally. Our analysis includes the effect of nonlinearities as well as the influence of neuronal noise.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Learning / physiology
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology
  • Strigiformes / physiology*
  • Synapses / physiology