Attention modulates synchronized neuronal firing in primate somatosensory cortex

P. N. Steinmetz, A. Roy, P. J. Fitzgerald, S. S. Hsiao, K. O. Johnson, Ernst Niebur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A potentially powerful information processing strategy in the brain is to take advantage of the temporal structure of neuronal spike trains. An increase in synchrony within the neural representation of an object or location increases the efficacy of that neural representation at the next synaptic stage in the brain; thus, increasing synchrony is a candidate for the neural correlate of attentional selection. We investigated the synchronous firing of pairs of neurons in the secondary somatosensory cortex (SII) of three monkeys trained to switch attention between a visual task and a tactile discrimination task. We found that most neuron pairs in SII cortex fired synchronously and, furthermore, that the degree of synchrony was affected by the monkey's attentional state. In the monkey performing the most difficult task, 35% of neuron pairs that fired synchronously changed their degree of synchrony when the monkey switched attention between the tactile and visual tasks. Synchrony increased in 80% and decreased in 20% of neuron pairs affected by attention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-190
Number of pages4
JournalNature
Volume404
Issue number6774
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 9 2000

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Somatosensory Cortex
Primates
Haplorhini
Neurons
Touch
Brain
Automatic Data Processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this

Steinmetz, P. N., Roy, A., Fitzgerald, P. J., Hsiao, S. S., Johnson, K. O., & Niebur, E. (2000). Attention modulates synchronized neuronal firing in primate somatosensory cortex. Nature, 404(6774), 187-190. https://doi.org/10.1038/35004588

Attention modulates synchronized neuronal firing in primate somatosensory cortex. / Steinmetz, P. N.; Roy, A.; Fitzgerald, P. J.; Hsiao, S. S.; Johnson, K. O.; Niebur, Ernst.

In: Nature, Vol. 404, No. 6774, 09.03.2000, p. 187-190.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Steinmetz, PN, Roy, A, Fitzgerald, PJ, Hsiao, SS, Johnson, KO & Niebur, E 2000, 'Attention modulates synchronized neuronal firing in primate somatosensory cortex', Nature, vol. 404, no. 6774, pp. 187-190. https://doi.org/10.1038/35004588
Steinmetz PN, Roy A, Fitzgerald PJ, Hsiao SS, Johnson KO, Niebur E. Attention modulates synchronized neuronal firing in primate somatosensory cortex. Nature. 2000 Mar 9;404(6774):187-190. https://doi.org/10.1038/35004588
Steinmetz, P. N. ; Roy, A. ; Fitzgerald, P. J. ; Hsiao, S. S. ; Johnson, K. O. ; Niebur, Ernst. / Attention modulates synchronized neuronal firing in primate somatosensory cortex. In: Nature. 2000 ; Vol. 404, No. 6774. pp. 187-190.
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