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Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2005 Sep;84(2):111-23.

Novel visual stimuli activate a population of neurons in the primate orbitofrontal cortex.

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Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3UD, UK.


Neurons were found in the rhesus macaque anterior orbitofrontal cortex that respond to novel but not to familiar visual stimuli. Some of these neurons responded to all novel stimuli, and others to only a subset (e.g., to novel faces). The neurons have no responses to familiar reward- or punishment-associated visual stimuli, nor to taste, olfactory or somatosensory inputs. The responses of the neurons typically habituated with repeated presentations of a novel stimulus, and five presentations each 1s was the median number for the response to reach half-maximal. The neurons did not respond to stimuli which had been novel and shown a few times on the previous day, indicating that the neurons were involved in long-term memory. The median latency of the neuronal responses was 120 ms. The median spontaneous firing rate was 1.3 spikes/s, and the median response to novel visual stimuli was 6.0 spikes/s. These findings indicate that the long-term memory for visual stimuli is information that is represented in a region of the primate anterior orbitofrontal cortex.

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