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Journal Article

Modulation of Neuronal Responses by Exogenous Attention in Macaque Primary Visual Cortex

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Wang, F., Chen, M., Yan, Y., Zhaoping, L., & Li, W. (2017). Modulation of Neuronal Responses by Exogenous Attention in Macaque Primary Visual Cortex. The Journal of Neuroscience, 35(39), 13419-13429. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0527-15.2015.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-C274-0
Visual perception is influenced by attention deployed voluntarily or triggered involuntarily by salient stimuli. Modulation of visual cortical processing by voluntary or endogenous attention has been extensively studied, but much less is known about how involuntary or exogenous attention affects responses of visual cortical neurons. Using implanted microelectrode arrays, we examined the effects of exogenous attention on neuronal responses in the primary visual cortex (V1) of awake monkeys. A bright annular cue was flashed either around the receptive fields of recorded neurons or in the opposite visual field to capture attention. A subsequent grating stimulus probed the cue-induced effects. In a fixation task, when the cue-to-probe stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA) was <240 ms, the cue induced a transient increase of neuronal responses to the probe at the cued location during 40–100 ms after the onset of neuronal responses to the probe. This facilitation diminished and disappeared after repeated presentations of the same cue but recurred for a new cue of a different color. In another task to detect the probe, relative shortening of monkey's reaction times for the validly cued probe depended on the SOA in a way similar to the cue-induced V1 facilitation, and the behavioral and physiological cueing effects remained after repeated practice. Flashing two cues simultaneously in the two opposite visual fields weakened or diminished both the physiological and behavioral cueing effects. Our findings indicate that exogenous attention significantly modulates V1 responses and that the modulation strength depends on both novelty and task relevance of the stimulus.