Oscillatory Neuronal Responses in the Visual Cortex of the Awake Macaque Monkey


Andreas K. Kreiter, as above


An important step in early visual processing is the segmentation of scenes. Features constituting individual objects have to be grouped together and segregated from those of other figures or the background. It has been proposed that this grouping could be achieved by synchronizing the fine temporal structure of responses from neurons excited by an individual figure. In the cat visual cortex evidence has been obtained that responses of feature-selective neurons have a distinctive oscillatory structure and can synchronize both within and across cortical areas, the synchronization depending on stimulus configuration. Here we investigate the generality of oscillatory responses and their synchronization and specifically whether these phenomena occur in extrastriate areas of the visual cortex of the awake behaving primate. We find in the caudal superior temporal sulcus of the macaque monkey (Macaca fascicularis) that adjacent neurons can synchronize their responses, in which case their discharges exhibit an oscillatory temporal structure. During such periods of local synchrony spatially separated cell groups can also synchronize their responses if activated with a single stimulus. These findings resemble those described previously for the cat visual cortex, except that in the awake monkey the oscillatory episodes tend to be of shorter duration and exhibit more variability of oscillation frequency.