Development of responses to acoustic interaural intensity differences in the cat inferior colliculus

D. R. Moore, D. R F Irvine

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Responses of single neurones in the inferior colliculus of anaesthetized adult cats and kittens were studied using best-frequency stimuli of varying interaural intensity difference (IID). Two broad classes of neurone, distinguished by the predominant type of input from each ear, were examined. One class of cells received predominantly excitatory input from each ear (EE cells). The other class were excited by monaural stimulation of the contralateral ear and showed no response to monaural stimulation of the ipsilateral ear, but inhibition of the excitatory response by simultaneous ipsilateral stimulation (EI cells). Fourteen of the 18 adult EI cells showed marked changes in discharge rate with variation in IID. Adult EI cells showed low response variability and were insensitive to changes in average binaural intensity. In all cases of IID sensitivity, the onset component of the response was less sensitive to IID than the sustained component. Eight out of ten EE cells were insensitive to IID over the range tested. Cells of high best-frequency in kittens younger than 28 days showed irregular changes in discharge rate with variation in IID and wide response variability. Some low-frequency EI cells in young kittens showed sensitivity to IID, but it is unlikely that these could be involved in sound localization as their frequency response was inappropriate. Many cells in kittens aged 31-40 days showed monotonic, adult-like IID functions, but the response variability of these cells remained higher than that of adult cat neurones. These data provide evidence for a developmental change of binaural interaction in the cat.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-309
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 1981


  • Auditory
  • Cat
  • Development
  • Localization

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