Complex sounds, including human speech, contain time-varying signals like frequency modulation (FM) and amplitude modulation (AM) components. In spite of various attempts to characterize their neuronal coding in the mammalian auditory systems, a unified view of their responses has not been reached. We compared FM and AM coding in terms of receptive space with reference to the input-output relationship of the underlying neural circuits. Using extracellular recording, single unit responses to a novel stimulus (i.e. random AM or FM tone) were obtained at the auditory midbrain of the anesthetized rat. Responses could be classified into three general types, corresponding to selective sensitivity to one of the following aspects of the modulation: (a) steady state, (b) dynamic state, or (c) steady-and-dynamic states. Such response typing was basically similar between FM and AM stimuli. Furthermore, the receptive space of each unit could be characterized in a three-dimensional Cartesian co-ordinate system formed by three modulation parameters: velocity, range and intensity. This representation applies to both FM and AM responses. We concluded that the FM and AM codings are very similar at the auditory midbrain and may likely involve similar neural mechanisms.
- Complex sound coding
- Frequency and amplitude modulation
- Inferior colliculus