How does the brain construct auditory space?

Informations pratiques
16 juin 2022

ENS, room Ribot, 29 rue d'Ulm, 75005 Paris


Unlike vision or touch the position of a sound source is not represented at the cochlea and instead must be computed from sound localisation cues. These cues include differences in the timing and intensity between the two ears, and monaural spectral cues that result from the direction-dependent interaction of sound with the pinna. Auditory cortex is required for accurate sound localisation behaviour, yet sound localisation cues are extracted by dedicated centres in the brainstem. What role does auditory cortex play in representing sounds in space? In this talk I will review evidence from our lab that auditory cortex constructs cue-invariant representations of spatial position consistent with a representation of perceived location. I will also consider the coordinate frame in which sounds are represented sharing our findings from freely moving ferrets in which head-centered and world-centered reference frames could be dissociated. This approach allowed us to determine that while many cells represent sound position relative to the head, some cells represent sound location in a head-pose invariant manner, thus responding selectively to a position in the world. Finally I will share some behavioural data demonstrating that ferrets, like humans, can localise sounds in both head and world-centered reference frames.