Inferotemporal neurons distinguish and retain behaviorally relevant features of visual stimuli

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Science  22 May 1981:
Vol. 212, Issue 4497, pp. 952-955
DOI: 10.1126/science.7233192


Single-cell activity was recorded in the inferotemporal cortex of monkeys performing a task that requires perception and temporary retention of colored stimuli. Many cells reacted differentially to the stimuli. By changing the relevance of certain features of compound stimuli, it was found that the reactions of some cells to color depend critically on whether or not the task demands that the animal pay attention to color. A substantial number of cells showed color-dependent differences in frequency of discharge during the retention periods of the task. The temporal characteristics of differential discharge and its dissolution when memory is no longer required indicate that the cells that display it are involved in retaining visual information.

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