Sensitivity of central auditory neurons to frequency modulated (FM) sound is often characterized based on spectro-temporal receptive field (STRF), which is generated by spike-trigger averaging a random stimulus. Due to the inherent property of time variability in neural response, this method erroneously represents the response jitter as stimulus jitter in the STRF. To reveal the trigger features more clearly, we have implemented a method that minimizes this error. Neural spikes from the brainstem of urethane-anesthetized rats were first recorded in response to two sets of FM stimuli: (a) a random FM tone for the generation of STRF and (b) a family of linear FM ramps for the determination of FM 'trigger point'. Based on the first dataset, STRFs were generated using spike-trigger averaging. Individual modulating waveforms were then matched with respect to their mean waveform at time-windows of a systematically varied length. A stable or optimal variance time profile was found at a particular window length. At this optimal window length, we performed delay adjustments. A marked sharpening in the FM bands in the STRF was found. Results were consistent with the FM 'trigger point' as estimated by the linear FM ramps. We concluded that the present approach of adjusting response jitter was effective in delineating FM trigger features in the STRF.
- FM sensitivity
- Inferior colliculus
- Midbrain auditory neurons
- Spectro-temporal receptive field
- Trigger point