Synchronous firing in the second somatosensory cortex covaries with the attentional state of alert monkey

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“Synchronous firing in the second somatosensory cortex covaries with the attentional state of alert monkey” by P.N. Steinmetz, A. Roy, P. Fitzgerald, S.S. Hsiao, E. Niebur, and K. O. Johnson. In Cognitive Neuroscience Society, 6th Ann. Meeting, (M. S. Gazzaniga, ed.), (Washington, D.C.), Apr. 1999, Cognitive Neuroscience Society.

Abstract

Correlated activity of pairs of neurons recorded simultaneously in somatosensory area SII of alert behaving monkeys was examined. During the recordings, the animal's focus of attention switched between performing a tactile task and a visual task. Tactile stimulation was identical when the monkey performed the tactile and the visual tasks. The neurons of each pair were recorded from different electrodes separated by at least 400 microns. Correlations were determined after applying a shift predictor to correct for variations in evoked firing rate. Of the total 559 neuron pairs examined, 384 (69%) showed significant (p<0.05) synchronous firing, with the half-width of the cross-correlation peak approximately 25 ms. For pairs with significant synchronous firing, 67 (17%) showed a degree of correlation which significantly covaried (p<0.05) with the attentional state of the monkey (93% increased, 7 % decreased). These results indicate that attention changes not only the mean rate of firing of neurons (Hsiao et al., J. Neurophys. 7:444, 1993) but, for a substantial fraction of neuron pairs, the degree of synchronization with other neurons as well. This covariation supports a possible functional role for synchronous firing in attentional control as suggested by theoretical work (Niebur and Koch, J. Comput. Neurosci. 1(1), 141, 1994). Supported by NIH Grant: NS34086 and the Sloan Foundation

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BibTeX entry:

@inproceedings{Steinmetz_etal99a,
   author = {P.N. Steinmetz and A. Roy and P. Fitzgerald and S.S. Hsiao
	and E. Niebur and K. O. Johnson},
   editor = {M. S. Gazzaniga},
   title = {Synchronous firing in the second somatosensory cortex covaries
	with the attentional state of alert monkey},
   booktitle = {Cognitive Neuroscience Society, 6th Ann. Meeting},
   address = {Washington, D.C.},
   month = apr,
   year = {1999},
   organization = {Cognitive Neuroscience Society}
}