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Title: The context dependence of network response properties in the primary visual cortex of the primate and cat
Author: Davis, Justin Nicholas
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 1997
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In the mammalian visual system, stimulus context was investigated with respect to the ways it influenced neuronal mean response magnitude (the average number of spikes fired per second), response temporal structure (the timing of spikes with respect to one another), and the extent to which distributed neurones fired spikes synchronous due to synaptic interaction between them. Neurones were presented with bipartite grating stimuli, in which the spatio-temporal relationship between the grating activating the excitatory receptive field and that presented to the surrounding visual space could be varied systematically. Simultaneous extracellular recordings were made of the responses of up to four single neurones separated by 750-1000μm, in the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) of the thalamus in the cat, or the primary visual cortex (V1) of non-human primates or cats. Changing context systematically influenced the activity of groups of cells. The responses of 83% of primate V1 cells to discontinuous stimuli, in which the centre/surround orientation difference was greater than 45°, contained stronger oscillations at frequencies below 80Hz, than responses to continuous stimuli. Many cat and primate V1 neurones exhibited elevated response magnitudes to such stimuli. In primate V1, the strength of a cell's oscillatory discharge was dependent on stimulus configuration rather than response magnitude. In the LGN and V1, cell pairs with different orientation preferences fired synchronised responses when stimulated by specific discontinuous grating configurations. Stimulus specific synchronised LGN input, and reciprocal excitatory and inhibitory cortico-cortical connections could generate these properties of cells, and the network in which they exist. A model is proposed to account for the function significance of contour discontinuities in generating coherent neural representations of objects in the visual world. It involves response synchronisation in horizontal, feedforward and feedback interactions, within and between the LGN, V1, V2 and V4.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available