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Neuronal synchrony does not correlate with motion coherence in cortical area MT

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Alexander Thiele


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Natural visual scenes are cluttered with multiple objects whose individual features must somehow be selectively linked (or 'bound') if perception is to coincide with reality. Recent neurophysiological evidence(1,2) supports a 'binding-by-synchrony' hypothesis3 : neurons excited by features of the same object fire synchronously, while neurons excited by features of different objects do not. Moving plaid patterns offer a straightforward means to test this idea. By appropriate manipulations of apparent transparency, the component gratings of a plaid pattern can be seen as parts of a single coherently moving surface or as two non-coherently moving surfaces. We examined directional tuning and synchrony of area-MT neurons in awake, fixating primates in response to perceptually coherent and non-coherent plaid patterns. Here we show that directional tuning correlated highly with perceptual coherence, which is consistent with an earlier study(4). Although we found stimulus-dependent synchrony, coherent plaids elicited significantly less synchrony than did non-coherent plaids. Our data therefore do not support the binding-by-synchrony hypothesis as applied to this class of motion stimuli in area MT.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Thiele A; Stoner G

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nature

Year: 2003

Volume: 421

Issue: 6921

Pages: 366-370

ISSN (print): 0028-0836

ISSN (electronic): 1476-4687

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1038/nature01285


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