Spatial receptive-fields in the cat inferior colliculus
Auditory spatial receptive fields of 122 single units in the inferior colliculus of 8 anesthetised cats were studied with free-field acoustic stimuli presented in the frontal hemisphere. The best frequency and best frequency threshold were determined for each unit with the speaker located in a position where the unit responded strongly. The intensity was then raised to 10 dB above threshold at the best frequency and the boundaries of the spatial receptive field were determined. For sounds of low intensity, receptive field size appeared to be a continuum with respect to best frequency. Units of high best frequency had small circumscribed fields located in the contralateral frontal hemifield. The boundaries of receptive fields for units of progressively lower best frequency expanded in all directions. Thus for intermediate frequencies, fields typically filled the contralateral hemifield whereas for low frequencies, units could be activated by stimulation from any position tested. At higher intensities, the boundaries of the receptive fields of units expanded. Circumscribed receptive field centres lay on a line corresponding to the acoustical axis of the contralateral pinna. For these units with small receptive fields, the free-field response to low intensity sounds appeared to be attributable more to the directional properties of the contralateral pinna than to significant binaural interaction.