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Behavioral/Systems/Cognitive Attention Modulates the Responses of Simple Cells in

Summary: Behavioral/Systems/Cognitive
Attention Modulates the Responses of Simple Cells in
Monkey Primary Visual Cortex
Carrie J. McAdams and R. Clay Reid
Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115
Spatial attention has long been postulated to act as a spotlight that increases the salience of visual stimuli at the attended location. We
examined the effects of attention on the receptive fields of simple cells in primary visual cortex (V1) by training macaque monkeys to
perform a task with two modes. In the attended mode, the stimuli relevant to the animal's task overlay the receptive field of the neuron
being recorded. In the unattended mode, the animal was cued to attend to stimuli outside the receptive field of that neuron. The relevant
stimulus, a colored pixel, was briefly presented within a white-noise stimulus, a flickering grid of black and white pixels. The receptive
that attention could cause significant modulation of the visually evoked response despite an absence of significant effects on the overall
firing rates. On further examination of the relationship between the strength of the visual stimulation and the firing rate, we found that
attention appears to cause multiplicative scaling of the visually evoked responses of simple cells, demonstrating that attention reaches
back to the initial stages of visual cortical processing.
Key words: attention; striate; vision; cortex; macaque; mapping; receptive field
Attention increases the responses of neurons in many areas of
visual cortex (for review, see Treue, 2001). However, attentional
modulation of the responses of neurons in primary visual cortex


Source: Andrzejak, Ralph Gregor - Departament de Tecnologia, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Reid, R. Clay - Department of Neurobiology, Harvard University


Collections: Biology and Medicine; Computer Technologies and Information Sciences