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Visual motion discrimination by propagating patterns in primate cerebral cortex

Townsend, R; Solomon, SS; Martin, PR; Solomon, SG; Gong, P; (2017) Visual motion discrimination by propagating patterns in primate cerebral cortex. Journal of Neuroscience , 37 (42) pp. 10074-10084. 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1538-17.2017. Green open access

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Abstract

Visual stimuli can evoke waves of neural activity that propagate across the surface of visual cortical areas. The relevance of these waves for visual processing is unknown. Here we measured the phase and amplitude of local field potentials (LFPs) in electrode array recordings from motion-processing medial temporal area (MT) of anesthetized male marmosets. Animals viewed grating or dot-field stimuli drifting in different directions. We found that on individual trials, the direction of LFP wave propagation is sensitive to the direction of stimulus motion. Propagating LFP patterns are also detectable in trial-averaged activity, but the trial-averaged patterns exhibit different dynamics and behaviors to those in single trials and are similar across motion directions. We show that this difference arises because stimulus-sensitive propagating patterns are present in the phase of single-trial oscillations, whereas the trial-averaged signal is dominated by additive amplitude effects. Our results demonstrate that propagating LFP patterns can represent sensory inputs, at timescales relevant to visually-guided behaviors, and raise the possibility that propagating activity patterns serve neural information processing in area MT and other cortical areas. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Propagating wave patterns are widely observed in the cortex, but their functional relevance remains unknown. We show here that visual stimuli generate propagating wave patterns in local field potentials (LFPs) in a movement-sensitive area of the primate cortex, and that the propagation direction of these patterns is sensitive to stimulus motion direction. We also show that averaging LFP signals across multiple stimulus presentations (trial-averaging) yields propagating patterns which capture different dynamic properties of the LFP response and show negligible direction sensitivity. Our results demonstrate that sensory stimuli can reliably modulate propagating wave patterns in the cortex. The relevant dynamics are normally masked by trial-averaging, which is a conventional step in LFP signal processing.

Type: Article
Title: Visual motion discrimination by propagating patterns in primate cerebral cortex
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1538-17.2017
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1538-17.2017
Language: English
Additional information: This is the published version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: cerebral cortex; cortical oscillations; cortical waves; local field potentials; spatiotemporal dynamics; visual processing
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1574719
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