Dataset for: Effect of preceding stimulation on sound localization and its representation in the auditory midbrain

Prior stimulation can influence the perception of sound source location. Some psychophysical sound localization procedures differ in the amount of prior stimulation, which may affect measures of localization accuracy. If and how particularly the number of preceding stimuli affects sound localization and the neural representation of sound source position has not been investigated so far and will be the focus of the present report. We trained Mongolian gerbils in a left/right discrimination task where the target stimulus was preceded by silence or followed a number of reference stimuli. Localization thresholds decreased with the number of references presented before the target stimulus. The smallest thresholds were found after the presentation of a train of five reference stimuli and after silence. We recorded from units in the inferior colliculus (IC) of anaesthetised gerbils using virtual-acoustic space stimuli mimicking the ones used in the behavioral task and applied signal detection theory to compare behavioral and neurometric thresholds. We found that neurometric thresholds based on spike rate information of single units covered a wide range of threshold values but only neurometric thresholds based on responses of small populations of IC units reached consistently thresholds we also observed in the behavioral experiment. Unlike behavioral thresholds, however, neurometric thresholds were independent of the number of reference stimuli suggesting that processing stages downstream from the IC might better reflect the effect of prior stimulation.