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Publication Detail
Sound identity is represented robustly in auditory cortex during perceptual constancy
Perceptual constancy requires neural representations that are selective for object identity, but also tolerant across identity-preserving transformations. How such representations arise in the brain and support perception remains unclear. Here, we study tolerant representation of sound identity in the auditory system by recording neural activity in auditory cortex of ferrets during perceptual constancy. Ferrets generalize vowel identity across variations in fundamental frequency, sound level and location, while neurons represent sound identity robustly across acoustic variations. Stimulus features are encoded with distinct time-courses in all conditions, however encoding of sound identity is delayed when animals fail to generalize and during passive listening. Neurons also encode information about task-irrelevant sound features, as well as animals' choices and accuracy, while population decoding out-performs animals' behavior. Our results show that during perceptual constancy, sound identity is represented robustly in auditory cortex across widely varying conditions, and behavioral generalization requires conserved timing of identity information.
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