Auditory map development
|The neural mechanisms that generate internal representations of the auditory space have been extensively studied, indicating the importance of precise integration, in time and space, of information from the two ears and from different frequency bands. However, the important question of how the specific neural connections are formed remained unsolved. Are these connections preprogrammed into the brain or are they formed selectively by acoustic experience? We have undertaken to explore this question in barn owls. For this purpose we raise young barn owls from the age of 10 days to the age of 60 days, in continuous broadband acoustic noise. In such an artificial acoustic environment the auditory signals which are typical of a natural environment are masked and, thus, the experience of localizable sounds is substantially reduced. We then carefully mapp the internal representation of auditory space in these and compared it with owls that were raised under normal conditions.
Project Leader: Adi Efrati