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Paper   IPM / Cognitive Sciences / 15268
School of Cognitive Sciences
  Title:   Selective Changes in Noise Correlations Contribute to an Enhanced Representation of Saccadic Targets in Prefrontal Neuronal Ensembles
1.  MR. Dehaghani
2.  H. Vahabie
3.  MB. Parsa
4.  B. Noudoost
5.  AR. Soltani
  Status:   Published
  Journal: Cerebral Cortex
  Year:  2018
  Pages:   1-18
  Supported by:  IPM
An ensemble of neurons can provide a dynamic representation of external stimuli, ongoing processes, or upcoming actions. This dynamic representation could be achieved by changes in the activity of individual neurons and/or their interactions. To investigate these possibilities, we simultaneously recorded from ensembles of prefrontal neurons in non-human primates during a memory-guided saccade task. Using both decoding and encoding methods, we examined changes in the information content of individual neurons and that of ensembles between visual encoding and saccadic target selection. We found that individual neurons maintained their limited spatial sensitivity between these cognitive states, whereas the ensemble selectively improved its encoding of spatial locations far from the neurons�?? preferred locations. This population-level �??encoding expansion�?� was not due to the ceiling effect at the preferred locations and was accompanied by selective changes in noise correlations for non-preferred locations. Moreover, the encoding expansion was observed for ensembles of different types of neurons and could not be explained by shifts in the preferred location of individual neurons. Our results demonstrate that the representation of space by neuronal ensembles is dynamically enhanced prior to saccades, and this enhancement occurs alongside changes in noise correlations more than changes in the activity of individual neurons.

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