Coordination of visual processing in cortex by network activity during natural viewing

Daniel Butts (May 10, 2013)

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In addition to visual information from thalamus, neurons in primary visual cortex (V1) receive inputs from other V1 neurons, as well as from higher cortical areas. This ‚€œnon-classical‚€? input to V1 neurons, which can be inferred in part from the local field potential, can modulate the ‚€œclassical‚€? feed-forward responses of V1 neurons to visual stimuli. Using multielectrode recordings in awake primate, we can characterize this modulation in a variety of stimulus contexts. Because this network activity is by definition shared, it can serve to coordinate single neuron responses across a given region of cortex. Such network modulation plays a clear role during natural viewing, where saccadic eye movements result in stereotyped network activity. Thus these network influences to V1 neuron activity, which likely represent both coordinated processing within V1 and top-down influences, play a fundamental role in natural visual processing.