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Modulation of auditory cortex unit activity during the performance of a conditioned response.


Single-unit activity in primary auditory cortex was studied in unanesthetized, paralyzed cats during the performance of a classical conditioning task. The conditioned stimulus was a 0.5-s white noise (WN) burst paired with tail shock delivered 4.5 s later. Cats habituated to WN without shock served as controls. Overlayed on these tasks was a continuous background of 1 s, behaviorally irrelevant, 100-ms duration tone bursts set to the best frequency and optimal intensity for the particular unit being studied. Spontaneous activity and tone responses following WN were compared with the respective activity preceding WN. The spontaneous or evoked activity of 75% of the cells recorded in the trained animals changed significantly after WN, whereas the activity of 28% of the cells recorded in habituated animals changed. Augmentation and suppression of both spontaneous and evoked activity were found. These results have implications for the encoding of acoustic stimuli in terms of the modulation of lemniscal sensory system activity. © 1978.

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