Models of the Neuronal Mechanisms of Target Localization of the Barn Owl
Annual technical rept. for FY90,
DAVID SARNOFF RESEARCH CENTER PRINCETON NJ
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The major concern of this years research was modeling the neural systems of the barn owl that perform timing comparisons of sound at the two ears with microsecond accuracy. Models of neurons in the nucleus laminaris NL were developed. Analysis and computer simulations were performed that demonstrated that models of these neurons that incorporate simple neuronal biophysics cannot reproduce the observed behavior of laminaris neurons. A model incorporating an abstract resonance mechanism could reproduce the experimental phenomena. Work on this project involves collaboration with the Princeton University subcontractor, who has also approached this problem from another point of view. He has developed a model neuron incorporating active channels that can reproduce the observed behavior. More analysis of the behavior of the channels will clarify their signal processing properties. Several experimental results relevant to last years research have also been reported by scientists in the Konishi laboratory at CalTech. Changes are needed in some of the models developed last year to incorporate these results and to investigate their functional significance.