Orthogonal representation of sound dimensions in the primate midbrain

Nat Neurosci. 2011 Apr;14(4):423-5. doi: 10.1038/nn.2771. Epub 2011 Mar 6.


Natural sounds are characterized by their spectral content and the modulation of energy over time. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging in awake macaques, we observed topographical representations of these spectral and temporal dimensions in a single structure, the inferior colliculus, the principal auditory nucleus in the midbrain. These representations are organized as a map with two approximately perpendicular axes: one representing increasing temporal rate and the other increasing spectral frequency.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation / methods
  • Acoustics*
  • Animals
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Inferior Colliculi / anatomy & histology*
  • Inferior Colliculi / physiology*
  • Macaca mulatta