Frequency response areas in the inferior colliculus: Nonlinearity and binaural interaction

Jane J. Yu, Eric D. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The tuning, binaural properties, and encoding characteristics of neurons in the central nucleus of the inferior colliculus (CNIC) were investigated to shed light on nonlinearities in the responses of these neurons. Results were analyzed for three types of neurons (I, O, and V) in the CNIC of decerebrate cats. Rate responses to binaural stimuli were characterized using a 1st- plus 2nd-order spectral integration model. Parameters of the model were derived using broadband stimuli with random spectral shapes (RSS). This method revealed four characteristics of CNIC neurons: (1) Tuning curves derived from broadband stimuli have fixed (i. e., level tolerant) bandwidths across a 50-60 dB range of sound levels; (2) 1st-order contralateral weights (particularly for type I and O neurons) were usually larger in magnitude than corresponding ipsilateral weights; (3) contralateral weights were more important than ipsilateral weights when using the model to predict responses to untrained noise stimuli; and (4) 2nd-order weight functions demonstrate frequency selectivity different from that of 1st-order weight functions. Furthermore, while the inclusion of 2nd-order terms in the model usually improved response predictions related to untrained RSS stimuli, they had limited impact on predictions related to other forms of filtered broadband noise (e. g., virtual space stimuli). The accuracy of the predictions varied considerably by response type. Predictions were most accurate for I neurons, and less accurate for O and V neurons, except at the lowest stimulus levels. These differences in prediction performance support the idea that type I, O, and V neurons encode different aspects of the stimulus: while type I neurons are most capable of producing linear representations of spectral shape, type O and V neurons may encode spectral features or temporal stimulus properties in a manner not easily explained with the low-order model. Supported by NIH grant DC00115.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFrontiers in neural circuits
Issue numberAPR 2013
StatePublished - Apr 22 2013


  • Binaural
  • Dynamic range
  • Inferior colliculus
  • Level tolerant
  • Model
  • Nonlinearity
  • Random spectral shape
  • Tuning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Frequency response areas in the inferior colliculus: Nonlinearity and binaural interaction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this