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Adaptive Information Processing in Auditory Cortex

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Annual rept. 1 Jun 1987-31 May19 88

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The fact that learning induces frequency-specific modification of receptive fields in auditory cortex implies that the functional organization of auditory and perhaps other sensory cortex comprises an adaptively-constituted information base. This project initiates the first systematic investigation of adaptive information processing in cerebral cortex. A major goal is to determine the circumstances under which adaptive information processing is induced by experience. This project also addresses central hypotheses about rules that govern adaptive information processing, at three levels of spatial scale a parallel processing in different auditory fields b modular processing in different cortical lamina within fields c local processing in different neurons within the same locus within lamina. We have emphasized determining the learning circumstances under which adaptive information processing is invoked by the brain. Current studies reveal that the frequency receptive fields of neurons in the auditory cortex, and the physiologically-plastic magnocellular medial geniculate nucleus, develop frequency-specific modification such that maximal shifts in tuning are at or adjacent to the signal frequency. Further, this adaptive re-tuning of neurons develops rapidly during habituation, classical conditioning, and instrumental avoidance conditioning. The generality of re-tuning has established that AIP during learning represents a general brain strategy for the acquisition and subsequent processing of information.

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  • Psychology
  • Anatomy and Physiology

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