Cortical state dynamics and selective attention define the spatial pattern of correlated variability in neocortex

Shi, Yan-Liang, Steinmetz, Nicholas A, Moore, Tirin, Boahen, Kwabena, Engel, Tatiana A (January 2022) Cortical state dynamics and selective attention define the spatial pattern of correlated variability in neocortex. Nature Communications, 13 (1). p. 44. ISSN 2041-1723

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DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-27724-4


Correlated activity fluctuations in the neocortex influence sensory responses and behavior. Neural correlations reflect anatomical connectivity but also change dynamically with cognitive states such as attention. Yet, the network mechanisms defining the population structure of correlations remain unknown. We measured correlations within columns in the visual cortex. We show that the magnitude of correlations, their attentional modulation, and dependence on lateral distance are explained by columnar On-Off dynamics, which are synchronous activity fluctuations reflecting cortical state. We developed a network model in which the On-Off dynamics propagate across nearby columns generating spatial correlations with the extent controlled by attentional inputs. This mechanism, unlike previous proposals, predicts spatially non-uniform changes in correlations during attention. We confirm this prediction in our columnar recordings by showing that in superficial layers the largest changes in correlations occur at intermediate lateral distances. Our results reveal how spatially structured patterns of correlated variability emerge through interactions of cortical state dynamics, anatomical connectivity, and attention.

Item Type: Paper
Subjects: organism description > animal behavior
organism description > animal behavior > attention
organs, tissues, organelles, cell types and functions > tissues types and functions > neocortex
neurobiology > neuroscience > systems neuroscience
CSHL Authors:
Communities: CSHL labs > Engel lab
SWORD Depositor: CSHL Elements
Depositing User: CSHL Elements
Date: 10 January 2022
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2022 15:02
Last Modified: 26 Jan 2022 16:34
PMCID: PMC8748999

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