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Journal Article

Motion contrast in primary visual cortex: A direct comparison of single neuron and population encoding


Wunderle,  Thomas
Ernst Strüngmann Institute (ESI) for Neuroscience in Cooperation with Max Planck Society, Max Planck Society;

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Conde-Ocazionez, S. A., Altavini, T. S., Wunderle, T., & Schmidt, K. E. (2017). Motion contrast in primary visual cortex: A direct comparison of single neuron and population encoding. European Journal of Neuroscience, 47(4), 358-369. doi:10.1111/ejn.13786.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002E-8546-9
Features from outside the classical receptive field (CRF) can modulate the stimulus-driven activity of single cells in the primary visual cortex. This modulation, mediated by horizontal and feedback networks, has been extensively described as a variation of firing rate and is considered the basis of processing features as, for example, motion contrast. However, surround influences have also been identified in pairwise spiking or local field coherence. Yet, evidence about co-existence and integration of different neural signatures remains elusive. To compare multiple signatures, we recorded spiking and LFP activity evoked by stimuli exhibiting a motion contrast in the CRFs surround in anesthetized cat primary visual cortex. We chose natural-like scenes over gratings to avoid predominance of simple visual features, which could be easily represented by a rate code. We analyzed firing rates and phase-locking to low-gamma frequency in single cells and neuronal assemblies. Motion contrast was reflected in all measures, but in semi-independent populations. Whereas activation of assemblies accompanied single neuron rates, their phase relations were modulated differently. Interestingly, only assembly phase relations mirrored the direction of movement of the surround and were selectively affected by thermal deactivation of visual inter-hemispheric connections. We argue that motion contrast can be reflected in complementary and superimposed neuronal signatures that can represent different surround features in independent neuronal populations. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.