Message Number: SG18406 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2006-10-06 00:32:00 UTC
Subject: [ferrethealth] Ferret hearing research

Listening Through Different Ears Alters Spatial Response Fields in Ferret Primary Auditory Cortex
Thomas D. Mrsic-Flogel,1 Andrew J. King,1 Rick L. Jenison,2 and Jan W. H. Schnupp1

1University Laboratory of Physiology, Oxford OX1 3PT, United Kingdom; and 2Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706

Mrsic-Flogel, Thomas D., Andrew J. King, Rick L. Jenison, and Jan W. H. Schnupp. Listening Through Different
Ears Alters Spatial Response Fields in Ferret Primary Auditory Cortex. J. Neurophysiol. 86: 1043-1046, 2001.
The localization of sounds in space is based on spatial cues that arise from the acoustical properties of the
head and external ears. Individual differences in localization cue values result from variability in the shape
and dimensions of these structures. We have mapped spatial response fields of high-frequency neurons in
ferret primary auditory cortex using virtual sound sources based either on the animal's own ears or on the
ears of other subjects. For 73% of units, the response fields measured using the animals' own ears differed
significantly in shape and/or position from those obtained using spatial cues from another ferret.
The observed changes correlated with individual differences in the acoustics. These data are consistent
with previous reports showing that humans localize less accurately when listening to virtual sounds from
other individuals. Together these findings support the notion that neural mechanisms underlying auditory
space perception are calibrated by experience to the properties of the individual.

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