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Neuron. 2012 Apr 26;74(2):227-45. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2012.04.001.

On the perception of probable things: neural substrates of associative memory, imagery, and perception.

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Center for the Neurobiology of Vision, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Perception is influenced both by the immediate pattern of sensory inputs and by memories acquired through prior experiences with the world. Throughout much of its illustrious history, however, study of the cellular basis of perception has focused on neuronal structures and events that underlie the detection and discrimination of sensory stimuli. Relatively little attention has been paid to the means by which memories interact with incoming sensory signals. Building upon recent neurophysiological/behavioral studies of the cortical substrates of visual associative memory, I propose a specific functional process by which stored information about the world supplements sensory inputs to yield neuronal signals that can account for visual perceptual experience. This perspective represents a significant shift in the way we think about the cellular bases of perception.

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