Sep 18, 2014

Top-down coordination of local cortical state during selective attention

bioRxiv
Samuel J. TazzymanAlexander Thiele

Abstract

Spontaneous fluctuations in cortical excitability influence sensory processing and behavior. These fluctuations, long known to reflect global changes in cortical state, were recently found to be modulated locally within a retinotopic map during spatially selective attention. We found that periods of vigorous (On) and faint (Off) spiking activity, the signature of cortical state fluctuations, were coordinated across brain areas along the visual hierarchy and tightly coupled to their retinotopic alignment. During top-down attention, this interareal coordination was enhanced and progressed along the reverse cortical hierarchy. The extent of local state coordination between areas was predictive of behavioral performance. Our results show that cortical state dynamics are shared across brain regions, modulated by cognitive demands and relevant for behavior.

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