Beyond the labeled line: variation in visual reference frames from intraparietal cortex to frontal eye fields and the superior colliculus

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2017-12-20

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Abstract

We accurately perceive the visual scene despite moving our eyes ~3 times per second, an ability that requires incorporation of eye position and retinal information. In this study, we assessed how this neural computation unfolds across three interconnected structures: frontal eye fields (FEF), intraparietal cortex (LIP/MIP), and the superior colliculus (SC). Single unit activity was assessed in head-restrained monkeys performing visually-guided saccades from different initial fixations. As previously shown, the receptive fields of most LIP/MIP neurons shifted to novel positions on the retina for each eye position, and these locations were not clearly related to each other in either eye- or head-centered coordinates (defined as hybrid coordinates). In contrast, the receptive fields of most SC neurons were stable in eye-centered coordinates. In FEF, visual signals were intermediate between those patterns: around 60% were eye-centered, whereas the remainder showed changes in receptive field location, boundaries, or responsiveness that rendered the response patterns hybrid or occasionally head-centered. These results suggest that FEF may act as a transitional step in an evolution of coordinates between LIP/MIP and SC. The persistence across cortical areas of mixed representations that do not provide unequivocal location labels in a consistent reference frame has implications for how these representations must be read-out.

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10.1152/jn.00584.2017

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Caruso, valeria, daniel Pages, MA Sommer and jennifer Groh (2017). Beyond the labeled line: variation in visual reference frames from intraparietal cortex to frontal eye fields and the superior colliculus. Journal of Neurophysiology, In Press. 10.1152/jn.00584.2017 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/15921.

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Scholars@Duke

Sommer

Marc A. Sommer

Professor of Biomedical Engineering

We study circuits for cognition. Using a combination of neurophysiology and biomedical engineering, we focus on the interaction between brain areas during visual perception, decision-making, and motor planning. Specific projects include the role of frontal cortex in metacognition, the role of cerebellar-frontal circuits in action timing, the neural basis of "good enough" decision-making (satisficing), and the neural mechanisms of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

Groh

Jennifer M. Groh

Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience

Research in my laboratory concerns how sensory and motor systems work together, and how neural representations play a combined role in sensorimotor and cognitive processing (embodied cognition).

Most of our work concerns the interactions between vision and hearing. We frequently perceive visual and auditory stimuli as being bound together if they seem likely to have arisen from a common source. That's why we tend not to notice that the speakers on TV sets or in movie theatres are located beside, and not behind, the screen. Research in my laboratory is devoted to investigating the question of how the brain coordinates the information arising from the ears and eyes. Our findings challenge the historical view of the brain's sensory processing as being automatic, autonomous, and immune from outside influence. We have recently established that neurons in the auditory pathway (inferior colliculus, auditory cortex) alter their responses to sound depending on where the eyes are pointing. This finding suggests that the different sensory pathways meddle in one another's supposedly private affairs, making their respective influences felt even at very early stages of processing. The process of bringing the signals from two different sensory pathways into a common frame of reference begins at a surprisingly early point along the primary sensory pathways.


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