A hierarchy of timescales explains distinct effects of local inhibition of primary visual cortex and frontal eye fields

Luca Cocchi, Martin V. Sale, Leonardo L. Gollo, Peter T. Bell, Vinh T. Nguyen, Andrew Zalesky, Michael Breakspear, Jason B. Mattingley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


Within the primate visual system, areas at lower levels of the cortical hierarchy process basic visual features, whereas those at higher levels, such as the frontal eye fields (FEF), are thought to modulate sensory processes via feedback connections. Despite these functional exchanges during perception, there is little shared activity between early and late visual regions at rest. How interactions emerge between regions encompassing distinct levels of the visual hierarchy remains unknown. Here we combined neuroimaging, non-invasive cortical stimulation and computational modelling to characterize changes in functional interactions across widespread neural networks before and after local inhibition of primary visual cortex or FEF. We found that stimulation of early visual cortex selectively increased feedforward interactions with FEF and extrastriate visual areas, whereas identical stimulation of the FEF decreased feedback interactions with early visual areas. Computational modelling suggests that these opposing effects reflect a fast-slow timescale hierarchy from sensory to association areas.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere15252
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sept 2016
Externally publishedYes

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