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Version 2. F1000Res. 2013 Feb 15 [revised 2013 Aug 2];2:51. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.2-51.v2. eCollection 2013.

Cortical long-range interactions embed statistical knowledge of natural sensory input: a voltage-sensitive dye imaging study.

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Institute of Cognitive Science, Department of Neurobiopsychology, University of Osnabrück, Osnabrück, 49069, Germany.
Optical Imaging Group, Institut für Neuroinformatik, Ruhr-University Bochum, Bochum, Germany ; Cognitive Neurobiology, Bernstein Group for Computational Neuroscience, Ruhr-University Bochum, Bochum, Germany.


How is contextual processing as demonstrated with simplified stimuli, cortically enacted in response to ecologically relevant complex and dynamic stimuli? Using voltage-sensitive dye imaging, we captured mesoscopic population dynamics across several square millimeters of cat primary visual cortex. By presenting natural movies locally through either one or two adjacent apertures, we show that simultaneous presentation leads to mutual facilitation of activity. These synergistic effects were most effective when both movie patches originated from the same natural movie, thus forming a coherent stimulus in which the inherent spatio-temporal structure of natural movies were preserved in accord with Gestalt principles of perceptual organization. These results suggest that natural sensory input triggers cooperative mechanisms that are imprinted into the cortical functional architecture as early as in primary visual cortex.

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