Lookup NU author(s): Professor Alexander Thiele,
Dr Christian Brandt,
Dr Sascha Gotthardt
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).
Top-down attention increases coding abilities by altering firing rates and rate variability. In the frontal eye field (FEF), a key area enabling top-down attention, attention induced firing rate changes are profound, but its effect on different cell types is unknown. Moreover, FEF is the only cortical area investigated in which attention does not affect rate variability, as assessed by the Fano factor, suggesting that task engagement affects cortical state nonuniformly. We show that putative interneurons in FEF of Macaca mulatta show stronger attentional rate modulation than putative pyramidal cells. Partitioning rate variability reveals that both cell types reduce rate variability with attention, but more strongly so in narrow-spiking cells. The effects are captured by a model in which attention stabilizes neuronal excitability, thereby reducing the expansive nonlinearity that links firing rate and variance. These results show that the effect of attention on different cell classes and different coding properties are consistent across the cortical hierarchy, acting through increased and stabilized neuronal excitability.
Author(s): Thiele A, Brandt C, Dasilva M, Gotthardt S, Chicharro D, Panzeri S, Distler C
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Journal of Neuroscience
Print publication date: 20/07/2016
Acceptance date: 02/06/2016
Date deposited: 18/10/2016
ISSN (print): 0270-6474
ISSN (electronic): 1529-2401
Publisher: Society for Neuroscience
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