Spatial representation of neural responses to natural and altered conspecific vocalizations in cat auditory cortex

J Neurophysiol. 2007 Jan;97(1):144-58. doi: 10.1152/jn.00807.2006. Epub 2006 Oct 4.


This study shows the neural representation of cat vocalizations, natural and altered with respect to carrier and envelope, as well as time-reversed, in four different areas of the auditory cortex. Multiunit activity recorded in primary auditory cortex (AI) of anesthetized cats mainly occurred at onsets (<200-ms latency) and at subsequent major peaks of the vocalization envelope and was significantly inhibited during the stationary course of the stimuli. The first 200 ms of processing appears crucial for discrimination of a vocalization in AI. The dorsal and ventral parts of AI appear to have different roles in coding vocalizations. The dorsal part potentially discriminated carrier-altered meows, whereas the ventral part showed differences primarily in its response to natural and time-reversed meows. In the posterior auditory field, the different temporal response types of neurons, as determined by their poststimulus time histograms, showed discrimination for carrier alterations in the meow. Sustained firing neurons in the posterior ectosylvian gyrus (EP) could discriminate, among others, by neural synchrony, temporal envelope alterations of the meow, and time reversion thereof. These findings suggest an important role of EP in the detection of information conveyed by the alterations of vocalizations. Discrimination of the neural responses to different alterations of vocalizations could be based on either firing rate, type of temporal response, or neural synchrony, suggesting that all these are likely simultaneously used in processing of natural and altered conspecific vocalizations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Auditory Cortex / physiology*
  • Auditory Pathways / physiology
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cats
  • Cortical Synchronization
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Pattern Recognition, Physiological / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Social Behavior*
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology
  • Time Factors
  • Time Perception / physiology
  • Vocalization, Animal / physiology*