Simultaneous multi-area recordings suggest a novel hypothesis about how attention improves performance (2018)
- Douglass A Ruff, Marlene R Cohen. Simultaneous multi-area recordings suggest a novel hypothesis about how attention improves performance, bioRxiv, 2018. (bioRxiv) (local cache)
Visual attention dramatically improves subjects’ ability to see and also modulates the responses of neurons in every known visual and oculomotor area, but whether those modulations can account for perceptual improvements remains unclear. We measured the relationship between populations of visual neurons, oculomotor neurons, and behavior, which was inconsistent with all published hypotheses about how attention improves perception. Our results support the novel hypothesis that attention reshapes the visual representation of attended stimuli to more effectively influence the premotor neurons that guide decisions without explicitly changing the readout or decision process. Our results suggest a path toward understanding the neural underpinnings of perception and cognition in health and disease by analyzing neuronal responses in ways that are constrained by behavior and interactions between brain areas.