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Extraretinal representations in area V4 in the macaque monkey

  • John H. R. Maunsell (a1), Gary Sclar (a1), Tara A. Nealey (a1) and Derryl D. DePriest (a1)


Several neurophysiological studies have shown that the visual cerebral cortex of macaque monkeys performing delayed match-to-sample tasks contains individual neurons whose levels of activity depend on the sample the animal is required to remember. Haenny et al. (1988) reported that the activity of neurons in area V4 of monkeys performing an orientation matching task depends on the orientation for which the animal is searching. It was proposed that these neurons contribute to a representation of the orientation being sought.

We have further characterized these neurons by recording visual responses from individual neurons during multiple behavioral tasks. Animals were trained to perform an orientation match-to-sample task using either a visual or a tactile orientation sample. In a set of 89 neurons examined using both types of sample, 25% showed statistically significant effects of sample orientation regardless of whether the sample was visual or tactile. Most of these preferred the same sample orientation in both conditions. These results allow us to specify the nature of the information signaled by these neurons more precisely than has previously been possible.

For 193 units tested using one of the matching tasks, responses were also recorded while the animal performed a simple fixation task. In this task the animal was not required to attend to the visual stimuli that were presented. A few neurons that were responsive during the matching task were silent during fixation, but a comparable number was much more responsive during fixation. Across the whole population there was no systematic change in either responsivity or selectivity for orientation under the two conditions.



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