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Neuron. 2012 Feb 9;73(3):581-94. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2011.12.019.

Cell-type-specific synchronization of neural activity in FEF with V4 during attention.

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Department of Basic Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Heraklion, Crete 71003, Greece.


Shifts of gaze and shifts of attention are closely linked and it is debated whether they result from the same neural mechanisms. Both processes involve the frontal eye fields (FEF), an area which is also a source of top-down feedback to area V4 during covert attention. To test the relative contributions of oculomotor and attention-related FEF signals to such feedback, we recorded simultaneously from both areas in a covert attention task and in a saccade task. In the attention task, only visual and visuomovement FEF neurons showed enhanced responses, whereas movement cells were unchanged. Importantly, visual, but not movement or visuomovement cells, showed enhanced gamma frequency synchronization with activity in V4 during attention. Within FEF, beta synchronization was increased for movement cells during attention but was suppressed in the saccade task. These findings support the idea that the attentional modulation of visual processing is not mediated by movement neurons.

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