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Nat Neurosci. 2008 Oct;11(10):1193-200. doi: 10.1038/nn.2173. Epub 2008 Aug 24.

Divergence of fMRI and neural signals in V1 during perceptual suppression in the awake monkey.

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Laboratory of Neuropsychology, National Institute of Mental Health, US National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, 49 Convent Dr., B2J-45, MSC 4400, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


The role of primary visual cortex (V1) in determining the contents of perception is controversial. Human functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies of perceptual suppression have revealed a robust drop in V1 activity when a stimulus is subjectively invisible. In contrast, monkey single-unit recordings have failed to demonstrate such perception-locked changes in V1. To investigate the basis of this discrepancy, we measured both the blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) response and several electrophysiological signals in two behaving monkeys. We found that all signals were in good agreement during conventional stimulus presentation, showing strong visual modulation to presentation and removal of a stimulus. During perceptual suppression, however, only the BOLD response and the low-frequency local field potential (LFP) power showed decreases, whereas the spiking and high-frequency LFP power were unaffected. These results demonstrate that the coupling between the BOLD and electrophysiological signals in V1 is context dependent, with a marked dissociation occurring during perceptual suppression.

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