Sensory systems adjust continuously to the environment. The effects of recent sensory experience-or adaptation-are typically assayed by recording in a relevant subcortical or cortical network. However, adaptation effects cannot be localized to a single, local network. Adjustments in one circuit or area will alter the input provided to others, with unclear consequences for computations implemented in downstream circuits. Here, we show that prolonged adaptation with drifting gratings, which alters responses in the early visual system, impedes the ability of area MT neurons to integrate motion signals in plaid stimuli. Perceptual experiments reveal a corresponding loss of plaid coherence. A simple computational model shows how the altered representation of motion signals in early cortex can derail integration in MT. Our results suggest that the effects of adaptation cascade through the visual system, derailing the downstream representation of distinct stimulus attributes.
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