Responses to linear and logarithmic frequency-modulated sweeps in ferret primary auditory cortex


: Dr I. Nelken, as above.


Multi-unit responses to frequency-modulated (FM) sweeps were studied in the primary auditory cortex of ferrets using six different stimulation paradigms. In particular, the differences between the responses to linear FM sweeps (where frequency changes linearly with time) and logarithmic FM sweeps (where frequency changes exponentially with time) were emphasized. Some general features of the responses to FM sweeps are independent of the exact details of the frequency trajectory. Both for linear and for logarithmic FM sweeps, a short burst of spikes occurred when the sweep reached a triggering frequency close to the best frequency of the cluster. The neuronal preference for FM velocity was also independent of frequency trajectory. Thus, clusters that responded best to slow logarithmic FM also preferred slow linear FM and vice versa. Consequently, topographic distributions of velocity preference were roughly independent of the stimulation paradigm. Other characteristics of the responses, however, depended on the exact details of the frequency trajectory. A significant number of clusters showed large differences in directional sensitivity between linear and logarithmic FM sweeps; these differences depended on the velocity preference of the clusters in some paradigms but not in others. Consequently, topographic distributions of directional sensitivity differed between linear and logarithmic paradigms. In conclusion, some characteristics of cluster responses to FM sweeps depend on the exact details of the stimulation paradigm and are not ‘invariants’ of the cluster.