Why Do We know So Much More About the Visual Than the Auditory System and What Can We Do About It?

Tuesday, March 9, 1999 - 4:00pm - 5:15pm
Keller 3-180
Tom Yin (University of Wisconsin Medical School)
As an auditory physiologist who has also worked in the visual system, I have often been asked the question posed above. I have no ready answer, and indeed I believe in some ways that this is a misperception. However, there are certainly aspects of visual studies that are more advanced than auditory ones. In particular, studies in awake, behaving animals have reached a much higher degree of sophistication in visual studies. In our laboratory we have begun to address this situation by developing a behavioral preparation to study sound localization in cats. We train cats to look at sound sources and record from various brainstem auditory nuclei while they are performing the task. An additional benefit of this preparation is the opportunity to study the psychoacoustics as well as the movements of the external ear during localization. The discussion period will also touch on controversial issues in binaural processing.