The trial-to-trial response variability of nearby cortical neurons is correlated. These correlations may strongly influence population coding performance. Numerous studies have shown that correlations can be dynamically modified by attention, adaptation, learning, and potent stimulus drive. However, the mechanisms that influence correlation strength remain poorly understood. Here we test whether correlations are influenced by presenting stimuli outside the classical receptive field (RF) of visual neurons, where they recruit a normalization signal termed surround suppression. We recorded simultaneously the activity of dozens of cells using microelectrode arrays implanted in the superficial layers of V1 in anesthetized, paralyzed macaque monkeys. We presented annular stimuli that encircled-but did not impinge upon-the RFs of the recorded cells. We found that these "extra-classical" stimuli reduced correlations in the absence of stimulation of the RF, closely resembling the decorrelating effects of stimulating the RFs directly. Our results suggest that normalization signals may be an important mechanism for modulating correlations.
- Extra-classical receptive field
- Population coding
- Spike count correlation
- Surround suppression
ASJC Scopus subject areas