Neural responses in the inferior colliculus of echolocating bats to artificial orientation sounds and echoes

J. H. Friend, N. Suga, R. A. Suthers

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43 Scopus citations


The responses of single units and evoked potentials to a pair of artificial sounds, mimicking theorientation sound and echo, and to tape recorded actual orientation sounds were studied in terms of recovery cycle. the recovery cycle of single units could be classified into four groups: (1) short suppression (4%), (2) delayed inhibition (11%), (3) temporal recovery with or without a supernormal phase (7%), and (4) undelayed inhibition (78%) lasting 4 to 26 msec. therefore the majority of neurons were not excited by the second sound (echo) of a pair when it was delivered within several milliseconds after the first (out‐going orientation sound). the duration of the recovery cycle was a function of the intensity of a pair of sounds. the weaker the first tone pulse relative to the second, the more rapid the recovery to the second. therefore, the reception of echoes is probably improved by contraction of middle ear muscles resulting in attenuation of self‐stimulation by the out‐going pulse. The collicular evoked potential consisted of two components, a fast one mainly due to the incoming fibers from lower levels and a slow one due to the main body of the inferior colliculus. The slow component showed slow recovery cycles as did the majority of single units while the fast one recovered very quickly. No noticeable difference in recovery cycles was found between awake and anesthetized animals. The functional meaning of inhibitory periods in the recovery cycle and role of the inferior colliculus in echo‐location are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-332
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of cellular physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1966

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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