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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Dec 11;109(50):20691-6. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1218654109. Epub 2012 Nov 27.

Priming with real motion biases visual cortical response to bistable apparent motion.

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Institute of Neuroscience, State Key Laboratory of Neuroscience, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200031, China.


Apparent motion quartet is an ambiguous stimulus that elicits bistable perception, with the perceived motion alternating between two orthogonal paths. In human psychophysical experiments, the probability of perceiving motion in each path is greatly enhanced by a brief exposure to real motion along that path. To examine the neural mechanism underlying this priming effect, we used voltage-sensitive dye (VSD) imaging to measure the spatiotemporal activity in the primary visual cortex (V1) of awake mice. We found that a brief real motion stimulus transiently biased the cortical response to subsequent apparent motion toward the spatiotemporal pattern representing the real motion. Furthermore, intracellular recording from V1 neurons in anesthetized mice showed a similar increase in subthreshold depolarization in the neurons representing the path of real motion. Such short-term plasticity in early visual circuits may contribute to the priming effect in bistable visual perception.

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