Christine V. Portfors

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Many laboratory rodents emit ultrasonic vocalizations. The purpose of this review is to highlight the types and functions of ultrasonic vocalizations emitted by laboratory rats and mice. Rats emit 3 types of ultrasonic vocalizations, depending on the animal's age, its environmental conditions, and its affective state. Rat pups emit a 40-kHz vocalization(More)
An important question in sensory neuroscience is what coding strategies and mechanisms are used by the brain to detect and discriminate among behaviorally relevant stimuli. There is evidence that sensory systems migrate from a distributed and redundant encoding strategy at the periphery to a more heterogeneous encoding in cortical structures. It has been(More)
Auditory experience during development is necessary for normal language acquisition in humans. Although songbirds, some cetaceans, and maybe bats may also be vocal learners, vocal learning has yet to be well established for a laboratory mammal. Mice are potentially an excellent model organism for studying mechanisms underlying vocal communication. Mice(More)
Neurons in the inferior colliculus (IC) of the mustached bat integrate input from multiple frequency bands in a complex fashion. These neurons are important for encoding the bat's echolocation and social vocalizations. The purpose of this study was to quantify the contribution of complex frequency interactions on the responses of IC neurons to social(More)
The inferior colliculus (IC) is a major center for integration of auditory information as it receives ascending projections from a variety of brainstem nuclei as well as descending projections from the thalamus and auditory cortex. The ascending projections are both excitatory and inhibitory and their convergence at the IC results in a microcircuitry that(More)
The ubiquity of social vocalizations among animals provides the opportunity to identify conserved mechanisms of auditory processing that subserve communication. Identifying auditory coding properties that are shared across vocal communicators will provide insight into how human auditory processing leads to speech perception. Here, we compare auditory(More)
In the mustached bat's central nucleus of the inferior colliculus (ICC), many neurons display facilitatory or inhibitory responses when presented with two tones of distinctly different frequencies. Our previous studies have focused on spectral interactions between specific frequency bands contained in the bat's sonar vocalization. In this study, we describe(More)
Perception of complex sounds such as speech is affected by a variety of factors, including attention, expectation of reward, physiological state, and/or disorders, yet the mechanisms underlying this modulation are not well understood. Although dopamine is commonly studied for its role in reward-based learning and in disorders, multiple lines of evidence(More)
Many animals use complex communication calls in social behaviors. In some species we know the features in the calls that elicit particular behaviors, but we do not understand how the auditory system encodes the calls. Nor do we understand the mechanisms underlying neural selectivity to calls. Our studies of the auditory midbrain of the Moustached Bat(More)
The dorsal cochlear nucleus (DCN) is an initial site of central auditory processing and also the first site of multisensory convergence in the auditory pathway. The auditory nerve imparts a tonotopic frequency organization on the responses of principal cells in the DCN. Cartwheel cells modify the responses of principal cells, but they do not receive direct(More)