An auditory feature detection circuit for sound pattern recognition

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Science Advances  11 Sep 2015:
Vol. 1, no. 8, e1500325
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500325


From human language to birdsong and the chirps of insects, acoustic communication is based on amplitude and frequency modulation of sound signals. Whereas frequency processing starts at the level of the hearing organs, temporal features of the sound amplitude such as rhythms or pulse rates require processing by central auditory neurons. Besides several theoretical concepts, brain circuits that detect temporal features of a sound signal are poorly understood. We focused on acoustically communicating field crickets and show how five neurons in the brain of females form an auditory feature detector circuit for the pulse pattern of the male calling song. The processing is based on a coincidence detector mechanism that selectively responds when a direct neural response and an intrinsically delayed response to the sound pulses coincide. This circuit provides the basis for auditory mate recognition in field crickets and reveals a principal mechanism of sensory processing underlying the perception of temporal patterns.

  • Auditory Processing
  • Delay Line
  • Coincidence Detection
  • Feature Detection
  • Sound Pattern Recognition
  • Identified Neuron
  • Brain Circuitry
  • Communication Signals
  • Neural Computation
  • Fundamental Principle

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