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Neuron. 2007 Mar 15;53(6):881-90.

Remembering visual motion: neural correlates of associative plasticity and motion recall in cortical area MT.

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Systems Neurobiology Laboratories, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


The pictorial content of visual memories recalled by association is embodied by neuronal activity at the highest processing stages of primate visual cortex. This activity is elicited by top-down signals from the frontal lobe and recapitulates the bottom-up pattern normally obtained by the recalled stimulus. To explore the generality and mechanisms of this phenomenon, we recorded motion-sensitive neurons at an early stage of cortical processing. After monkeys learned to associate directions of motion with static shapes, these neurons exhibited unprecedented selectivity for the shapes. This emergent shape selectivity reflects activation of neurons representing the motion stimuli recalled by association, and it suggests that recall-related activity may be a general feature of neurons in visual cortex.

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