Journal of Neurophysiology vol:93 issue:4 pages:1857-70
Many cells in the inferior colliculus (IC) are sensitive to interaural time differences (ITDs), in the form of an oscillatory dependency of average firing rate on ITD. We studied the degree of damping in such binaural responses, recording from neurons in the inferior colliculus of pentobarbital-anesthetized cats to binaural broadband noise and tones. Noise-delay functions and composite curves were characterized by computing the difference between responses to correlated and anticorrelated stimuli. We use a new metric, based on the envelope of this difference, to quantify damping. There is a clear relationship between damping and characteristic frequency (CF), but even neurons of the same CF can differ in their damping. For individual cells, damping can be stronger to tones or to noise; at the population level the two are positively correlated and are scarcely affected by SPL. The frequencies that dominate ITD sensitivity are near the CF in response to noise, but are often below CF in response to tones. These findings qualify conclusions from earlier reports but overall they support the conclusion that, at a population level, basic aspects of binaural responses to wideband noise are consistent with summed responses to pure tones.