Central and peripheral contributions to coding of acoustic space by neurons in inferior colliculus of cat
Recordings of response to free-field stimuli at best frequency were made from single units in the central nucleus of the inferior colliculus of anesthetized cats. Stimulus position was varied in azimuth, and the responses of units were compared with variation in the intensity and arrival time of the sound at each ear, derived from cochlear microphonic (CM) recordings. CM recordings were made at each frequency and at every point in space for which single-unit data were collected. Interaural time difference (delay) increased monotonically, but not linearly, as the stimulus was moved away from the midline. However, a given delay did not represent a single azimuth across frequency. Low-frequency interaural intensity differences (IIDs) were monotonic across azimuth and peaked at, or near, the poles. Higher-frequency IIDs were nonmonotonic and peaked relatively close to the midline, decreasing toward the poles. Units that showed little variation in discharge across azimuth formed 28% of the sample and were classified as omnidirectional. For other units, the spike-count intensity function and the variation of the CM with azimuth were combined to form a derived monaural azimuth function. For 29% of those units showing azimuthal sensitivity, the derived monaural azimuth function matched the actual azimuth function. This suggested that these units received input from only one ear. The largest group of azimuthally sensitive units (47%) was formed from those units inferred to be IID sensitive. At higher frequencies these units displayed a peaked azimuth function paralleling the nonmonotonic relation of IID to azimuth. The proportion of inferred IID-sensitive units was close to that found in dichotic studies.