Tolerance to sound intensity of binaural coincidence detection in the nucleus laminaris of the owl

Jose Luis Peña, Svenja Viete, Yehuda Albeck, Masakazu Konishi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

107 Scopus citations


Neurons of the owl's nucleus laminaris serve as coincidence detectors for measurement of interaural time difference. The discharge rate of nucleus laminaris neurons for both monaural and binaural stimulation increased with sound intensity until they reached an asymptote. Intense sounds affected neither the ratio between binaural and menaural responses nor the interaural time difference for which nucleus laminaris neurons were selective. Theoretical analysis showed that high afferent discharge rates cause coincidence detectors with only excitatory input to lose their selectivity for interaural time difference when coincidence of impulses from the same side becomes as likely as that of impulses from the two sides. We hypothesize that inhibitory input whose strength increases with sound intensity protects nucleus laminaris neurons from losing their sensitivity to interaural time difference with intense sounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7046-7054
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 1996
Externally publishedYes



  • acoustic localization
  • coincidence detection
  • interaural time difference
  • nucleus laminaris
  • owl
  • sound intensity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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