Enhanced contrast sensitivity in auditory cortex as cats learn to discriminate sound frequencies

Russell S Witte, Daryl R. Kipke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

To better understand the nature and time course for learning-induced cortical reorganization, we examined frequency-specific changes in auditory cortex as cats gradually improved at a difficult sound frequency discrimination task. Three adult cats were trained to discriminate between a tone pip at a fixed target frequency (S-) and a higher deviant frequency (S+). An adaptive training schedule led to an efficient estimate of the frequency discrimination threshold (FDT), which was used to track daily performance. Each cat was also implanted with an array of microwires in auditory cortex. Tone pips with different frequency and amplitude were used to map receptive fields. Onset responses were correlated with training time and the cat's ability to discriminate frequencies. Although lifetime of the neural implants varied among cats, each provided sufficient neural recording to relate at least 3 weeks of learning to response changes in the cortex. An improved FDT was associated with a differential decrease in response strength between the S- frequency and S+ frequencies. Response to the training frequencies gradually located in a local minimum compared to adjacent frequencies (p < 0.001, Cohen's d=0.50). Cortical changes were consistent with a theory of bimodal generalization that enhances stimulus classification by reducing similarity between reinforced and nonreinforced stimuli. Such a strategy may be especially appropriate during an early stage of learning to discriminate similar sounds and differ from later strategies required for fine discrimination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-184
Number of pages14
JournalCognitive Brain Research
Volume23
Issue number2-3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2005
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Contrast Sensitivity
Auditory Cortex
Cats
Learning
Stimulus Generalization
Aptitude
Appointments and Schedules
Discrimination (Psychology)

Keywords

  • Cat auditory cortex
  • Cochlear implant
  • Electrophysiology
  • Learning-induced plasticity
  • Multielectrode arrays
  • Operant conditioning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

Cite this

Enhanced contrast sensitivity in auditory cortex as cats learn to discriminate sound frequencies. / Witte, Russell S; Kipke, Daryl R.

In: Cognitive Brain Research, Vol. 23, No. 2-3, 05.2005, p. 171-184.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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