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J Neurophysiol. 2013 Nov;110(9):2227-35. doi: 10.1152/jn.00175.2013. Epub 2013 Jul 31.

Redundancy gains in retinotopic cortex.

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Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire;


It is widely claimed that interactions among simultaneously presented visual stimuli are suppressive and that these interactions primarily occur when stimuli fall within the same receptive field (Desimone and Duncan 1995). Here, we show evidence for a novel form of interaction between simultaneously presented but distant stimuli that does not fit either pattern. To examine interactions between simultaneously presented stimuli, we measure the response to a single stimulus as a function of whether or not other stimuli are also presented simultaneously, and we further ask how the response to a given stimulus is affected by whether the simultaneously present stimuli are identical or different from each other. Our method reveals a new phenomenon of "redundancy gain:" the visual response to a stimulus is higher when accompanied by identical stimuli than when that stimulus is presented alone, even though the stimuli are displayed in separate visual quadrants. This pattern is observed throughout the visual hierarchy, including V1 and V2, and we show that it is distinct from the well-known simultaneous suppression effect (Kastner et al. 1998). We propose that the redundancy gain in early retinotopic cortex results from feedback from higher visual areas and may underlie perceptual averaging and other ensemble coding phenomena observed behaviorally.


early retinotopic cortex; ensemble coding; long-range interaction; redundancy gain

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