Yao Chen, The School of Biomedical Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Room 306, No.5 Science Building
Selective attention helps us to filter complicate sensory information and focus on what is currently important and crucial. Paying attention to a certain location within one neuron’s receptive field in visual cortex may increase or decrease the neuronal activity, compared with attending elsewhere. Attention may also reduce shared fluctuations in the responses of those neurons. To better understand how the correlated variability changes under different levels of attentional load, we calculated spike count correlations using the electrophysiological data recorded simultaneously from pairs of neurons in primary cortex, while monkeys performed a task with two levels of difficulty to detect color change. We found that the attentional load modulation on the noise correlation was dependent on one neuron’s attentional mode in the pair. Our results suggest that accounting for correlated variability is a critical step in building a framework for studying how attention profoundly affect the sensory processing and cognition throughout the cortex.