Microsaccade-rhythmic modulation of neural synchronization and coding within and across cortical areas V1 and V2
SourcePlos Biology, 16, 5, (2018), article e2004132
Article / Letter to editor
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PI Group Neuronal Oscillations
PI Group MR Techniques in Brain Function
Subject150 000 MR Techniques in Brain Function; Biophysics
Author summary During visual exploration, we continuously move our eyes in a quick, coordinated manner several times a second to scan our environment. These movements are called saccades. Even while we fixate on a visual object, we unconsciously execute small saccades that are termed microsaccades (MSs). Despite MSs being relatively small, they are suggested to be critical to maintain and support accurate perception during visual fixation. Here, we studied in macaques the influence of MSs on the synchronization of neural rhythms—which are important to regulate information flow in the brain—in areas of the cerebral cortex that are important for early processing of visual information, and we complemented the analysis with computational modeling. We found that synchronization properties shortly after an MS were distinct from synchronization in the later phase. Specifically, we found an early and spectrally broadband synchronization within and between visual cortices that was broadly tuned over the cortical space and stimulus properties. This was followed by narrow-band synchronization in the gamma range (25–80 Hz) that was spatially and stimulus specific. This suggests that the manner in which information is transmitted and integrated between early visual cortices depends on the timing relative to MSs. We illustrate this in a computational model showing that the receptive field (RF) of neurons in the secondary visual cortex are expected to be different depending on MS timing. Our results highlight the significance of MS timing for understanding cortical dynamics and suggest that the regulation of synchronization might be one mechanism by which MSs support visual perception.
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