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Analysis of temporal structure in spike trains of visual cortical area MT


Bair, Wyeth (1996) Analysis of temporal structure in spike trains of visual cortical area MT. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/8nqb-td88.


The temporal structure of neuronal spike trains in the visual cortex can provide detailed information about the stimulus and about the neuronal implementation of visual processing. Spike trains recorded from the macaque motion area MT in previous studies (Newsome et al., 1989a; Britten et al., 1992; Zohary et al., 1994) are analyzed here in the context of the dynamic random dot stimulus which was used to evoke them. If the stimulus is incoherent, the spike trains can be highly modulated and precisely locked in time to the stimulus. In contrast, the coherent motion stimulus creates little or no temporal modulation and allows us to study patterns in the spike train that may be intrinsic to the cortical circuitry in area MT. Long gaps in the spike train evoked by the preferred direction motion stimulus are found, and they appear to be symmetrical to bursts in the response to the anti-preferred direction of motion. A novel cross-correlation technique is used to establish that the gaps are correlated between pairs of neurons. Temporal modulation is also found in psychophysical experiments using a modified stimulus. A model is made that can account for the temporal modulation in terms of the computational theory of biological image motion processing. A frequency domain analysis of the stimulus reveals that it contains a repeated power spectrum that may account for psychophysical and electrophysiological observations.

Some neurons tend to fire bursts of action potentials while others avoid burst firing. Using numerical and analytical models of spike trains as Poisson processes with the addition of refractory periods and bursting, we are able to account for peaks in the power spectrum near 40 Hz without assuming the existence of an underlying oscillatory signal. A preliminary examination of the local field potential reveals that stimulus-locked oscillation appears briefly at the beginning of the trial.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Computation and Neural Systems
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Major Option:Computation and Neural Systems
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Koch, Christof
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:9 June 1995
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:04092013-154919755
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7600
Deposited On:10 Apr 2013 14:35
Last Modified:09 Nov 2022 19:19

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