Faster Repetition Rate Sharpens the Cortical Representation of Echo Streams in Echolocating Bats. Academic Article uri icon


  • There is consensus that primary auditory cortex (A1) utilizes a combination of rate codes and temporally precise population codes to represent discreet auditory objects. During the response to auditory streams, forward suppression constrains cortical rate coding strategies, but it may also be well positioned to enhance temporal coding strategies that rely on synchronized firing across neural ensembles. Here, we exploited the rapid temporal dynamics of bat echolocation to investigate how forward suppression modulates the cortical ensemble representation of complex acoustic signals embedded in echo streams. We recorded from auditory cortex of anesthetized free-tailed bats while stimulating the auditory system with naturalistic biosonar pulse-echo sequences covering a range of pulse emission rates. As expected, increasing pulse repetition rate significantly reduced the number of spikes per echo stimulus, but it also increased spike timing precision and doubled the information gain. This increased spike-timing precision translated into more robust inter-neuronal synchronization patterns with >10-dB higher signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) at the ensemble level. We propose that forward suppression dynamically mediates a trade-off between the sensitive detection of isolated sounds versus precise spatiotemporal encoding of ongoing sound sequences in auditory cortex.

published proceedings

  • eNeuro

altmetric score

  • 4.55

author list (cited authors)

  • Macias, S., Bakshi, K., & Smotherman, M.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Macias, Silvio||Bakshi, Kushal||Smotherman, Michael

publication date

  • January 2022

published in