Response linearity in primary auditory cortex of the ferret

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Abstract

The responses of neurons within the primary auditory cortex (A1) of the ferret elicited by broadband dynamic spectral ripple stimuli were examined over a range of ripple spectral densities and ripple velocities. The large majority of neurons showed modulated responses to these stimuli and responded most strongly at low ripple densities and velocities. The period histograms of their responses were subjected to Fourier analysis, and the ratio of the magnitudes of the f1 and f0 (DC) components of these responses were calculated to give a quantitative index of response linearity. For 82 out of 396 neurons tested (20.7%) this ratio remained above 1.0 over the entire range of ripple densities and velocities. These neurons were classified as ‘consistently linear’. A further 134/396 (33.8%) of neurons maintained an f1/f0 ratio above 1.0 for either a range of ripple densities at a fixed ripple velocity, or over a range of ripple velocities at a specific ripple density, and were classified as ‘locally linear’. Interestingly, for the superficial layers of the primary auditory cortex, consistently linear and locally linear neurons outnumbered nonlinear neurons by a 2:1 ratio. The converse was true for the deep layers. Unlike in primary visual cortex, where f1/f0 ratios have been reported to exhibit a bimodal distribution with a minimum at f1/f0≈ 1, f1/f0 ratios for A1 are unimodally distributed with a peak at f1/f0≈ 1.

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