Effects of eye position on auditory localization and neural representation of space in superior colliculus of cats.
Hartline PH., Vimal RL., King AJ., Kurylo DD., Northmore DP.
The maps of visual and auditory space within the superior colliculus are in approximate register both with each other and with the underlying motor maps associated with orienting responses. The fact that eyes and ears can move independently poses a problem for the sensorimotor organization of these two modalities. By monitoring eye and pinna positions in alert, head-fixed cats, we showed that the accuracy of saccadic eye movements to auditory targets was little affected by eye eccentricity (range +/- 15 deg) at the onset of the sound. A possible neural basis for this behavioral compensation was suggested by recordings from superior colliculus neurons. The preferred sound directions of some neurons in the deep layers of this midbrain nucleus exhibited a shift with the direction of gaze, while in others the response throughout the auditory receptive field was either increased or decreased, suggesting that changes in eye position alter the gain of the auditory response.