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J Neurosci. 2011 Nov 2;31(44):15956-61. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2995-11.2011.

The effects of prefrontal cortex inactivation on object responses of single neurons in the inferotemporal cortex during visual search.

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  • 1Laboratory of Sensorimotor Research, National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Inferotemporal cortex (IT) is believed to be directly involved in object processing and necessary for accurate and efficient object recognition. The frontal eye field (FEF) is an area in the primate prefrontal cortex that is involved in visual spatial selection and is thought to guide spatial attention and eye movements. We show that object-selective responses of IT neurons and behavioral performance are affected by changes in frontal eye field activity. This was found in monkeys performing a search classification task by temporarily inactivating subregions of FEF while simultaneously recording the activity from single neurons in IT. The effect on object selectivity and performance was specific, occurring in a predictable spatially dependent manner and was strongest when the IT neuron's preferred target was presented in the presence of distractors. FEF inactivation did not affect IT responses on trials in which the nonpreferred target was presented in the search array.

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