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Paper   IPM / Cognitive Sciences / 16157
School of Cognitive Sciences
  Title:   Decoding Adaptive Visuomotor Behavior Mediated by Non-linear Phase Coupling in Macaque Area MT
1.  M. Khamechian
2.  M. Daliri
  Status:   Published
  Journal: Frontiers in Neuroscience
  Year:  2020
  Pages:   1-16
  Supported by:  IPM
The idea that a flexible behavior relies on synchronous neural activity within intra- and inter-associated cortical areas has been a matter of intense research in human and animal neuroscience. The neurophysiological mechanisms underlying this behavioral correlate of the synchronous activity are still unknown. It has been suggested that the strength of neural synchrony at the level of population is an important neural code to guide an efficient transformation of the sensory input into the behavioral action. In this study, we have examined the non-linear synchronization between neural ensembles in area MT of the macaque visual cortex by employing a non-linear cross-frequency coupling technique, namely bicoherence. We trained a macaque monkey to detect a brief change in the cued stimulus during a visuomotor detection task. The results show that the non-linear phase synchronization in the high-gamma frequency band (100–250 Hz) predicts the animal’s reaction time. The strength of non-linear phase synchronization is selective to the target stimulus location. In addition, the non-linearity characteristics of neural synchronization are selectively modulated when the monkey covertly attends to the stimulus inside the neuron’s receptive field. This additional evidence indicates that non-linear neuronal synchronization may be affected by a cognitive function like spatial attention. Our neural and behavioral observations reflect that two crucial processes may be involved in processing of visuomotor information in area MT: (I) a non-linear cortical process (measured by the bicoherence) and (II) a linear process (measured by the spectral power).

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