Eye movements modulate visual receptive fields of V4 neurons

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Abstract

The receptive field, defined as the spatiotemporal selectivity of neurons to sensory stimuli, is central to our understanding of the neuronal mechanisms of perception. However, despite the fact that eye movements are critical during normal vision, the influence of eye movements on the structure of receptive fields has never been characterized. Here, we map the receptive fields of macaque area V4 neurons during saccadic eye movements and find that receptive fields are remarkably dynamic. Specifically, before the initiation of a saccadic eye movement, receptive fields shrink and shift towards the saccade target. These spatiotemporal dynamics may enhance information processing of relevant stimuli during the scanning of a visual scene, thereby assisting the selection of saccade targets and accelerating the analysis of the visual scene during free viewing.

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Tolias, A. S., Moore, T., Smirnakis, S. M., Tehovnik, E. J., Siapas, A. G., & Schiller, P. H. (2001). Eye movements modulate visual receptive fields of V4 neurons. Neuron, 29(3), 757–767. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0896-6273(01)00250-1

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