Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2015 Sep 19;370(1677):20140206. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2014.0206.

Playing the electric light orchestra--how electrical stimulation of visual cortex elucidates the neural basis of perception.

Author information

1
Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PT, UK.
2
Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PT, UK kristine.krug@dpag.ox.ac.uk.

Abstract

Vision research has the potential to reveal fundamental mechanisms underlying sensory experience. Causal experimental approaches, such as electrical microstimulation, provide a unique opportunity to test the direct contributions of visual cortical neurons to perception and behaviour. But in spite of their importance, causal methods constitute a minority of the experiments used to investigate the visual cortex to date. We reconsider the function and organization of visual cortex according to results obtained from stimulation techniques, with a special emphasis on electrical stimulation of small groups of cells in awake subjects who can report their visual experience. We compare findings from humans and monkeys, striate and extrastriate cortex, and superficial versus deep cortical layers, and identify a number of revealing gaps in the 'causal map' of visual cortex. Integrating results from different methods and species, we provide a critical overview of the ways in which causal approaches have been used to further our understanding of circuitry, plasticity and information integration in visual cortex. Electrical stimulation not only elucidates the contributions of different visual areas to perception, but also contributes to our understanding of neuronal mechanisms underlying memory, attention and decision-making.

KEYWORDS:

decision-making; electrical stimulation; optogenetics; perception; primate; visual cortex

PMID:
26240421
PMCID:
PMC4528818
DOI:
10.1098/rstb.2014.0206
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center