The circuitry and function of mammalian visual cortex are shaped by patterns of visual stimuli, a plasticity likely mediated by synaptic modifications. In the adult cat, asynchronous visual stimuli in two adjacent retinal regions controlled the relative spike timing of two groups of cortical neurons with high precision. This asynchronous pairing induced rapid modifications of intracortical connections and shifts in receptive fields. These changes depended on the temporal order and interval between visual stimuli in a manner consistent with spike timing-dependent synaptic plasticity. Parallel to the cortical modifications found in the cat, such asynchronous visual stimuli also induced shifts in human spatial perception.
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