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Paper   IPM / Cognitive Sciences / 15328
School of Cognitive Sciences
  Title:   Attention decouples action potentials from the phase of local field potentials in macaque visual cortical area MT
1.  M. Esghaei
2.  M. Daliri
3.  S. Treue
  Status:   Published
  Journal: BMC Biology
  Year:  2018
  Pages:   1-13
  Supported by:  IPM
Background The timing of action potentials (ßpikes") of cortical neurons has been shown to be aligned to the phase of low-frequency (<10 Hz) local field potentials (LFPs) in several cortical areas. However, across the areas, this alignment varies and the role of this spike-phase coupling (SPC) in cognitive functions is not well understood.
Results Here, we propose a role in the coordination of neural activity by selective attention. After refining previous analytical methods for measuring SPC, we show that first, SPC is present along the dorsal processing pathway in macaque visual cortex (area MT); second, spikes occur in falling phases of the low-frequency LFP independent of the location of spatial attention; third, switching spatial attention into the receptive field (RF) of MT neurons decreases this coupling; and finally, the LFP phase causally influences the spikes.
Conclusions Here, we show that spikes are coupled to the phase of low-frequency LFP along the dorsal visual pathway. Our data suggest that attention harnesses this spike-LFP coupling to de-synchronize neurons and thereby enhance the neural representation of the attended stimuli.

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