The common assumption that perceptual sensitivities are related to neural representations of sensory stimuli has seldom been directly demonstrated. The authors analyzed the similarity of spike trains evoked by complex sounds in the rat auditory cortex and related cortical responses to performance in an auditory task. Rats initially learned to identify 2 highly different periodic, frequency-modulated sounds and then were tested with increasingly similar sounds. Rats correctly classified most novel sounds; their accuracy was negatively correlated with acoustic similarity. Rats discriminated novel sounds with slower modulation more accurately than sounds with faster modulation. This asymmetry was consistent with similarities in cortical representations of the sounds, demonstrating that perceptual sensitivities to complex sounds can be predicted from the cortical responses they evoke.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Behavioral Neuroscience