Order and disorder in auditory cortical maps

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 1995 Aug;5(4):489-96. doi: 10.1016/0959-4388(95)80010-7.


Recent physiological experiments suggest that several basic receptive field properties of neurons show non-uniform spatial distributions in the primary auditory cortex of cats and primates. The spatial distribution patterns of some of these receptive field parameters are suggestive of a parallel coding scheme for processing sound information onto several superimposed cortical 'maps'. The representations of these parameters in the auditory cortex are compatible with general features of self-organizing mapping algorithms, as the spatial representations exhibit global parameter gradients with overlaid functional patchiness. Recent studies have also revealed that within a 'representational' map, the degree of local coherence varies over a wide range and that the map can contain a substantial degree of disorder in its parametric representation of sounds. Although the causes and consequences of this representational disorder are not known, it may reflect yet unresolved organizational principles in the auditory cortex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Animals
  • Auditory Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Auditory Cortex / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cats
  • Humans
  • Sound Localization / physiology