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Journal Article

Nonlinear processing of shape information in rat lateral extrastriate cortex


Rosselli,  Federica B.
Department of Behavior and Brain Organization, Center of Advanced European Studies and Research (caesar), Max Planck Society;

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Matteucci, G., Marotti, R. B., Riggi, M., Rosselli, F. B., & Zoccolan, D. (2019). Nonlinear processing of shape information in rat lateral extrastriate cortex. The Journal of Neuroscience, 39(9), 1649-1670. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1938-18.2018.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-E792-3
In rodents, the progression of extrastriate areas located laterally to primary visual cortex (VI) has been assigned to a putative object processing pathway (homologous to the primate ventral stream), based on
anatomical considerations. Recently, we found functional support for such attribution (Tafazoli et al., 2017), by showing that this cortical progression is specialized for coding object identity despite view changes, the hallmark property of a ventral-like pathway. Here, we sought to clarify what computations are at the base of such specialization. To this aim, we performed multielectrode recordings from VI and laterolateral area LL (at the apex of the putative ventral-like hierarchy) of male adult rats, during the presentation of drifting
gratings and noise movies. We found that the extent to which neuronal responses were entrained to the phase of the gratings sharply dropped from VI to LL, along with the quality of the receptive fields inferred
through reverse correlation. Concomitantly, the tendency of neurons to respond to different oriented gratings increased, whereas the sharpness of orientation tuning declined. Critically, these trends are consistent with the nonlinear summation of visual inputs that is expected to take place along the ventral stream, according to the predictions of hierarchical models of ventral computations and a meta-analysis of the monkey literature. This suggests an intriguing homology between the mechanisms responsible for building up shape selectivity and transformation tolerance in the visual cortex of primates and rodents, reasserting the potential of the latter as models to investigate ventral stream functions at the circuitry level.