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Hearing and Donuts (Brain and Bagels) Seminar
April 9 @ 8:30 am - 9:30 am
Presenter: Dardo Ferreiro, PhD, Postdoctoral Researcher (Pecka lab; https://peckalab.com), Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München, München
Topic: Spatial Tuning of Auditory Cortex Neurons is Modulated by Sound Source Identity
Localizing and identifying sensory objects while navigating the environment are fundamental brain functions. However, how individual objects are neuronally represented during unrestricted self-motion is mostly unexplored. We trained gerbils on a freely-moving behavioral foraging paradigm that required localization and identification of sound-sources during free navigation. Chronic multi-electrode recordings in primary auditory cortex during task performance revealed previously unreported sensory object representations. Strikingly, the egocentric angle preference of the majority of spatially sensitive neurons changed significantly depending on the task-specific identity (outcome association) of the sound-source. Moreover, we encountered egocentrically untuned neurons whose response magnitude differed between source identities. Using a neural network decoder we show that together, these neuronal response ensembles provide spatio-temporally co-existent information about both the egocentric location and the identity of individual sensory objects during self-motion, revealing a novel cortical computation principle for naturalistic sensing.