A monaural space map in the guinea-pig superior colliculus.
Palmer AR., King AJ.
Under anechoic conditions, a horizontal array of loudspeakers was used to investigate the representation of auditory space in the guinea-pig superior colliculus. We have previously demonstrated that in animals with both ears intact, there is a topographical representation of the azimuthal dimension of auditory space in the deep layers of this nucleus. In the present study, we have investigated the contribution of monaural and binaural cues to the generation of the auditory space map. Occlusion of one ear or unilateral cochlear destruction resulted in omnidirectional responses in all cells to white-noise stimuli more than 20 dB suprathreshold. The sensitivity of cells to the location of sound at or near threshold was, however, unchanged and we demonstrate the presence of a threshold, monaural auditory space map. This monaural space map was destroyed by removal of the contralateral pinna and concha which resulted in all cells responding best, at threshold, to sounds opposite the external auditory meatus. Measurements of cochlear microphonic (CM) potentials, although variable, revealed that the pinna and concha may result in location-specific changes in the spectral pattern at the tympanic membrane.