In mammals, localization of sound sources in azimuth depends on sensitivity to interaural differences in sound timing (ITD) and level (ILD). Paradoxically, while typical ILD-sensitive neurons of the auditory brainstem require millisecond synchrony of excitatory and inhibitory inputs for the encoding of ILDs, human and animal behavioral ILD sensitivity is robust to temporal stimulus degradations (e.g., interaural decorrelation due to reverberation), or, in humans, bilateral clinical device processing. Here we demonstrate that behavioral ILD sensitivity is only modestly degraded with even complete decorrelation of left- and right-ear signals, suggesting the existence of a highly integrative ILD-coding mechanism. Correspondingly, we find that a majority of auditory midbrain neurons in the central nucleus of the inferior colliculus (of chinchilla) effectively encode ILDs despite complete decorrelation of left- and right-ear signals.Weshow that such responses can be accounted for by relatively long windows of bilateral excitatory-inhibitory interaction, which we explicitly measure using trains of narrowband clicks. Neural and behavioral data are compared with the outputs of a simple model of ILD processing with a single free parameter, the duration of excitatory-inhibitory interaction. Behavioral, neural, and modeling data collectively suggest that ILD sensitivity depends on binaural integration of excitation and inhibition within a≥3 ms temporal window, significantly longer than observed in lower brainstem neurons. This relatively slow integration potentiates a unique role for the ILD system in spatial hearing that may be of particular importance when informative ITD cues are unavailable.
A.D., B., & D.J., T. (2016). Slow temporal integration enables robust neural coding and perception of a cue to sound source location. Journal of Neuroscience, 36(38), 9908–9921. https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1421-16.2016 LK - http://sfx.library.uu.nl/utrecht?sid=EMBASE&issn=15292401&id=doi:10.1523%2FJNEUROSCI.1421-16.2016&atitle=Slow+temporal+integration+enables+robust+neural+coding+and+perception+of+a+cue+to+sound+source+location&stitle=J.+Neurosci.&title=Journal+of+Neuroscience&volume=36&issue=38&spage=9908&epage=9921&aulast=Brown&aufirst=Andrew+D.&auinit=A.D.&aufull=Brown+A.D.&coden=JNRSD&isbn=&pages=9908-9921&date=2016&auinit1=A&auinitm=D.