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Mechanisms Underlying the Sensitivity of Songbird Forebrain Neurons to Temporal Order

Michael S. Lewicki and Masakazu Konishi
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 92, No. 12 (Jun. 6, 1995), pp. 5582-5586
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2367561
Page Count: 5
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Mechanisms Underlying the Sensitivity of Songbird Forebrain Neurons to Temporal Order
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Abstract

Neurons in the songbird forebrain area HVc (hyperstriatum ventrale pars caudale or high vocal center) are sensitive to the temporal structure of the bird's own song and are capable of integrating auditory information over a period of several hundred milliseconds. Extracellular studies have shown that the responses of some HVc neurons depend on the combination and temporal order of syllables from the bird's own song, but little is known about the mechanisms underlying these response properties. To investigate these mechanisms, we recorded intracellular responses to a set of auditory stimuli designed to assess the degree of dependence of the responses on temporal context. This report provides evidence that HVc neurons encode information about temporal structure by using a variety of mechanisms including syllable-specific inhibition, excitatory postsynaptic potentials with a range of different time courses, and burst-firing nonlinearity. The data suggest that the sensitivity of HVc neurons to temporal combinations of syllables results from the interactions of several cells and does not arise in a single step from afferent inputs alone.

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