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Decorrelated Neuronal Firing in Cortical Microcircuits

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Science  29 Jan 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5965, pp. 584-587
DOI: 10.1126/science.1179867

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Abstract

Correlated trial-to-trial variability in the activity of cortical neurons is thought to reflect the functional connectivity of the circuit. Many cortical areas are organized into functional columns, in which neurons are believed to be densely connected and to share common input. Numerous studies report a high degree of correlated variability between nearby cells. We developed chronically implanted multitetrode arrays offering unprecedented recording quality to reexamine this question in the primary visual cortex of awake macaques. We found that even nearby neurons with similar orientation tuning show virtually no correlated variability. Our findings suggest a refinement of current models of cortical microcircuit architecture and function: Either adjacent neurons share only a few percent of their inputs or, alternatively, their activity is actively decorrelated.

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