DOI: 10.1101/502328Dec 20, 2018Paper

Visual exposure optimizes stimulus encoding in primary visual cortex

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Andreea LazarDanko Nikolic


Sensory exposure alters the response properties of individual neurons in primary sensory cortices. However, it remains unclear how these changes affect stimulus encoding by populations of sensory cells. Here, recording from populations of neurons in cat primary visual cortex, we demonstrate that visual exposure enhances stimulus encoding and discrimination. We find that repeated presentation of brief, high-contrast shapes results in a stereotyped, biphasic population response consisting of a short-latency transient, followed by a late and extended period of reverberatory activity. Visual exposure selectively improves the stimulus specificity of the reverberatory activity, by increasing the magnitude and decreasing the trial-to-trial variability of the neuronal response. Critically, this improved stimulus encoding is distributed across the population and depends on precise temporal coordination. Our findings provide evidence for the existence of an exposure-driven optimization process that enhances the encoding power of neuronal populations in early visual cortex, thus potentially benefiting simple readouts at higher stages of visual processing.

Related Concepts

Cerebral Cortex
Clinical Trials
Sensory Receptor Cells
Visual Cortex
Visual Processing
Population Group

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