Simple tonal stimuli can shape spectral tuning of cortical neurons during an early epoch of brain development. The effects of complex sound experience on cortical development remain to be determined. We exposed rat pups to a frequency-modulated (FM) sweep in different time windows during early development, and examined the effects of such sensory experience on sound representations in the primary auditory cortex (AI). We found that early exposure to a FM sound resulted in altered characteristic frequency representations and broadened spectral tuning in AI neurons, whereas later exposure to the same sound only led to greater selectivity for the sweep rate and direction of the experienced FM sound. These results indicate that cortical representations of different acoustic features are shaped by complex sounds in a series of distinct sensitive periods.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Neuroscience