Tolerance to sound intensity of binaural coincidence detection in the nucleus laminaris of the owl

J Neurosci. 1996 Nov 1;16(21):7046-54. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.16-21-07046.1996.


Neurons of the owl's nucleus laminaris serve as coincidence detectors for measurement of interaural time difference. The discharge rate of nucleus laminaris neurons for both monaural and binaural stimulation increased with sound intensity until they reached an asymptote. Intense sounds affected neither the ratio between binaural and monaural responses nor the interaural time difference for which nucleus laminaris neurons were selective. Theoretical analysis showed that high afferent discharge rates cause coincidence detectors with only excitatory input to lose their selectivity for interaural time difference when coincidence of impulses from the same side becomes as likely as that of impulses from the two sides. We hypothesize that inhibitory input whose strength increases with sound intensity protects nucleus laminaris neurons from losing their sensitivity to interaural time difference with intense sounds.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Afferent Pathways / physiology
  • Animals
  • Auditory Threshold / physiology
  • Axons / physiology
  • Birds / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / physiology
  • Female
  • Male
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology*
  • Neurons, Afferent / ultrastructure
  • Sound Localization / physiology*