Responses of neurons in the inferior colliculus to dynamic interaural phase cues: Evidence for a mechanism of binaural adaptation

David McAlpine*, Dan Jiang, Trevor M. Shackleton, Alan R. Palmer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)


Responses to sound stimuli that humans perceive as moving were obtained for 89 neurons in the inferior colliculus (IC) of urethan-anesthetized guinea pigs. Triangular and sinusoidal interaural phase modulation (IPM), which produced dynamically varying interaural phase disparities (IPDs), was used to present stimuli with different depths, directions, centers, and rates of apparent motion. Many neurons appeared sensitive to dynamic IPDs, with responses at any given IPD depending strongly on the IPDs the stimulus had just passed through. However, it was the temporal pattern of the response, rather than the motion cues in the IPM, that determined sensitivity to features such as motion depth, direction, and center locus, IPM restricted only to the center of the IPD responsive area, evoked lower discharge rates than when the stimulus either moved through the IPD responsive area from outside, or up and down its flanks. When the stimulus was moved through the response area first in one direction and then back in the other, and the same IPDs evoked different responses, the response to the motion away from the center of the IPD responsive area was always lower than the response to the motion toward the center. When the IPD was closer at which the direction of motion reversed was to the center, the response to the following motion was lower. In no case did we find any evidence for neurons that under all conditions preferred one direction of motion to the other. We conclude that responses of IC neurons to IPM stimuli depend not on the history of stimulation, per se, but on the history of their response to stimulation, irrespective of the specific motion cues that evoke those responses. These data are consistent with the involvement of an adaptation mechanism that resides at or above the level of binaural integration. We conclude that our data provide no evidence for specialized motion detection involving dynamic IPD cues in the auditory midbrain of the mammal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1356-1365
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


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