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Keywords:

  • primate;
  • AI;
  • electrophysiology;
  • maps

Abstract

Recent experiments in the cat have demonstrated that several response parameters, including frequency tuning, intensity tuning, and FM selectivity, are spatially segregated across the isofrequency axis. To investigate whether a similar functional organization exists in the primate, we have studied the spatial distribution of pure-tone receptive field parameters across the primary auditory cortex (AI) in six owl monkeys (Aotus trivirgatus). The distributions of binaural interaction types and onset latency were also examined. Consistent with previous studies, the primary auditory cortex contained a clear cochleotopic organization. We demonstrate here that several other properties of the responses to tonal stimuli also showed nonrandom spatial distributions that were largely independent from each other. In particular, the sharpness of frequency tuning to pure tones, intensity tuning and sensitivity, response latency, and binaural interaction types all showed spatial variations that were independent from the representation of characteristic frequency and from each other. Statistical analysis confirmed that these organizations did not reflect random distributions. The overall organizational pattern of overlaying but independent functional maps that emerged was quite similar to that seen in AI of cats and, in general, appears to reflect a fundamental organization principle of primary sensory cortical fields. J. Comp. Neurol. 415:460–481, 1999. © 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.