Evoked unit activity in auditory cortex of monkeys performing a selective attention task

S. Hocherman, D. A. Benson, M. H. Goldstein, H. E. Heffner, R. D. Hienz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Single-unit responses were recorded from the auditory cortex of rhesus monkeys performing a selective attention task which used combined light and sound stimuli. The animals were first trained to push a lever to the left for a noise burst and to the right for a tone burst, and then trained to push left for a left light and right for a right light. Subsequently, one of the four possible light and sound stimulus combinations (Noise + Left Light, Noise + Right Light, Tone + Left Light, Tone + Right Light) was randomly presented on each trial. In blocks of 100 trials only one part of the combined stimulus (either the light or the sound) determined the direction of lever push that would be reinforced. Responses of single units to identical sound stimuli were compared for blocks in which sound was the relevant cue and blocks in which light was the relevant cue. Typically, differences were in response strength without alteration of response pattern. Even the earliest response components (15-20 msec latency) could show changes. Two-thirds of the response comparisons showed differences in strength depending upon whether sound or light was the relevant cue, with about as many responses stronger for light relevant as for sound relevant. Independent of which modality was relevant, unit responses for trials in which both parts of the combined light and sound stimulus indicated the same direction of lever push were generally stronger than unit responses for trials in which the two parts of the combined stimulus signalled opposite directions of lever pushes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-68
Number of pages18
JournalBrain research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 19 1976

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology

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