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J Neurophysiol. 2004 Nov;92(5):3030-42. Epub 2004 Jun 16.

Temporal dynamics of shape analysis in macaque visual area V2.

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Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Box 8108, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.


The firing rate of visual cortical neurons typically changes substantially during a sustained visual stimulus. To assess whether, and to what extent, the information about shape conveyed by neurons in visual area V2 changes over the course of the response, we recorded the responses of V2 neurons in awake, fixating monkeys while presenting a diverse set of static shape stimuli within the classical receptive field. We analyzed the time course of various measures of responsiveness and stimulus-related response modulation at the level of individual cells and of the population. For a majority of V2 cells, the response modulation was maximal during the initial transient response (40-80 ms after stimulus onset). During the same period, the population response was relatively correlated, in that V2 cells tended to respond similarly to specific subsets of stimuli. Over the ensuing 80-100 ms, the signal-to-noise ratio of individual cells generally declined, but to a lesser degree than the evoked-response rate during the corresponding time bins, and the response profiles became decorrelated for many individual cells. Concomitantly, the population response became substantially decorrelated. Our results indicate that the information about stimulus shape evolves dynamically and relatively rapidly in V2 during static visual stimulation in ways that may contribute to form discrimination.

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