Modulation of Oscillatory Neuronal Synchronization by Selective Visual Attention

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Science  23 Feb 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5508, pp. 1560-1563
DOI: 10.1126/science.1055465

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In crowded visual scenes, attention is needed to select relevant stimuli. To study the underlying mechanisms, we recorded neurons in cortical area V4 while macaque monkeys attended to behaviorally relevant stimuli and ignored distracters. Neurons activated by the attended stimulus showed increased gamma-frequency (35 to 90 hertz) synchronization but reduced low-frequency (<17 hertz) synchronization compared with neurons at nearby V4 sites activated by distracters. Because postsynaptic integration times are short, these localized changes in synchronization may serve to amplify behaviorally relevant signals in the cortex.

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