Binaural Processing of Interaural Time and Intensity

The inferior colliculus receives extensive input from the superior olive that represents the initial stages for processing interaural time differences (ITD) and interaural intensity differences (IID). Both ITD and IID are necessary for the localization of sound, which is calculated neurally, unlike the localization of visual or somatosensory stimuli, which are the result of spatially mapped receptor surfaces in the eye and skin, respectively. Inputs from the medial superior olive convey ITD information from low-frequency stimuli and are excited when coincident stimuli activate neurons. In contrast, the lateral superior olive appears to be sensitive to both IID and ITD information and covers the entire range of audible frequencies. However, the lateral superior olive tends to be inhibited when coincident stimuli arrive simultaneously. Thus, inputs from the medial and lateral superior olive have distinct properties, and the inferior colliculus appears to play an important role in preserving these properties.

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