Previous research has demonstrated that auditory cortical neurons can modify their receptive fields when animals engage in auditory detection tasks.Wetested for this form of task-related plasticity in the inferior colliculus (IC) of ferrets trained to detect a pure tone target in a sequence of noise distractors that did not overlap in time. During behavior, responses were suppressed at the target tone frequency in approximately half of IC neurons relative to the passive state. This suppression often resulted from a combination of a local tuning change and a global change in overall excitability. Local and global suppression were stronger when the target frequency was aligned to neuronal best frequency. Local suppression in the IC was indistinguishable from that described previously in auditory cortex, while global suppression was unique to the IC. The results demonstrate that engaging in an auditory task can change selectivity for task-relevant features in the midbrain, an area where these effects have not been reported previously.
- Inferior colliculus
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