Task engagement improves neural discriminability in the auditory midbrain of the marmoset monkey

Luke A. Shaheen, Sean J. Slee, Stephen V. David

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


While task-dependent changes have been demonstrated in auditory cortex for a number of behavioral paradigms and mammalian species, less is known about how behavioral state can influence neural coding in the midbrain areas that provide auditory information to cortex. We measured single-unit activity in the inferior colliculus (IC) of common marmosets of both sexes while they performed a tone-in-noise detection task and during passive presentation of identical task stimuli. In contrast to our previous study in the ferret IC, task engagement had little effect on sound-evoked activity in central (lemniscal) IC of the marmoset. However, activity was significantly modulated in noncentral fields, where responses were selectively enhanced for the target tone relative to the distractor noise. This led to an increase in neural discriminability between target and distractors. The results confirm that task engagement can modulate sound coding in the auditory midbrain, and support a hypothesis that subcortical pathways can mediate highly trained auditory behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)284-297
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 13 2021


  • Auditory discrimination
  • Inferior Colliculus
  • Subcortical plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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