A computational account of the role of cochlear nucleus and inferior colliculus in stabilizing auditory nerve firing for auditory category learning

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1801-1829
Journal / PublicationNeural Computation
Issue number7
Online published20 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


It is well known that auditory nerve (AN) fibers overcome bandwidth limitations through the volley principle, a form of multiplexing.What is less well known is that the volley principle introduces a degree of unpredictability into AN neural firing patterns that may be affecting even simple stimulus categorization learning.We use a physiologically grounded, unsupervised spiking neural network model of the auditory brain with spike time dependent plasticity learning to demonstrate that plastic auditory cortex is unable to learn even simple auditory object categorieswhen exposed to the rawANfiring input without subcortical preprocessing.We then demonstrate the importance of nonplastic subcortical preprocessing within the cochlear nucleus and the inferior colliculus for stabilizing and denoisingANresponses. Such preprocessing enables the plastic auditory cortex to learn efficient robust representations of the auditory object categories. The biological realism of our model makes it suitable for generating neurophysiologically testable hypotheses.

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