Reorganization in processing of spectral and temporal input in the rat posterior auditory field induced by environmental enrichment

Vikram Jakkamsetti, Kevin Q. Chang, Michael P. Kilgard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Environmental enrichment induces powerful changes in the adult cerebral cortex. Studies in primary sensory cortex have observed that environmental enrichment modulates neuronal response strength, selectivity, speed of response, and synchronization to rapid sensory input. Other reports suggest that nonprimary sensory fields are more plastic than primary sensory cortex. The consequences of environmental enrichment on information processing in nonprimary sensory cortex have yet to be studied. Here we examine physiological effects of enrichment in the posterior auditory field (PAF), a field distinguished from primary auditory cortex (A1) by wider receptive fields, slower response times, and a greater preference for slowly modulated sounds. Environmental enrichment induced a significant increase in spectral and temporal selectivity in PAF. PAF neurons exhibited narrower receptive fields and responded significantly faster and for a briefer period to sounds after enrichment. Enrichment increased time-locking to rapidly successive sensory input in PAF neurons. Compared with previous enrichment studies in A1, we observe a greater magnitude of reorganization in PAF after environmental enrichment. Along with other reports observing greater reorganization in nonprimary sensory cortex, our results in PAF suggest that nonprimary fields might have a greater capacity for reorganization compared with primary fields.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1457-1475
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • Cortical plasticity
  • Nonprimary cortex
  • Phase-locked responses
  • Receptive field
  • Voice onset time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Physiology


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