Superposition of horseshoe-like periodicity and linear tonotopic maps in auditory cortex of the Mongolian gerbil

Eur J Neurosci. 2002 Mar;15(6):1077-84. doi: 10.1046/j.1460-9568.2002.01935.x.


The segregation of an individual sound from a mixture of concurrent sounds, the so-called cocktail-party phenomenon, is a fundamental and largely unexplained capability of the auditory system. Speaker recognition involves grouping of the various spectral (frequency) components of an individual's voice and segregating them from other competing voices. The important parameter for grouping may be the periodicity of sound waves because the spectral components of a given voice have one periodicity, viz. fundamental frequency, as their common denominator. To determine the relationship between the representations of spectral content and periodicity in the primary auditory cortex (AI), we used optical recording of intrinsic signals and electrophysiological mapping in Mongolian gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus). We found that periodicity maps as an almost circular gradient superimposed on the linear tonotopic gradient in the low frequency part of AI. This geometry of the periodicity map may imply competitive signal processing in support of the theory of "winner-takes-all".

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Animals
  • Auditory Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Auditory Cortex / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / physiology*
  • Gerbillinae / anatomy & histology
  • Gerbillinae / physiology*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Optics and Photonics
  • Perceptual Masking / physiology*
  • Periodicity*
  • Pitch Discrimination / physiology