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Neuron. 2009 Dec 24;64(6):943-56. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2009.08.041.

Complex dynamics of V1 population responses explained by a simple gain-control model.

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Department of Computer Sciences, The University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station, A8000, Austin, TX 78712, USA.


To understand sensory encoding and decoding, it is essential to characterize the dynamics of population responses in sensory cortical areas. Using voltage-sensitive dye imaging in awake, fixating monkeys, we obtained complete quantitative measurements of the spatiotemporal dynamics of V1 responses over the entire region activated by small, briefly presented stimuli. The responses exhibit several complex properties: they begin to rise approximately simultaneously over the entire active region, but reach their peak more rapidly at the center. However, at stimulus offset the responses fall simultaneously and at the same rate at all locations. Although response onset depends on stimulus contrast, both the peak spatial profile and the offset dynamics are independent of contrast. We show that these results are consistent with a simple population gain-control model that generalizes earlier single-neuron contrast gain-control models. This model provides valuable insight and is likely to be applicable to other brain areas.

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