Sensitivity of neurons in the middle temporal area of marmoset monkeys to random dot motion

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Abstract

Neurons in the middle temporal area (MT) of the primate cerebral cortex respond to moving visual stimuli. The sensitivity of MT neurons to motion signals can be characterized by using random-dot stimuli, in which the strength of the motion signal is manipulated by adding different levels of noise (elements that move in random directions). In macaques, this has allowed the calculation of “neurometric” thresholds. We characterized the responses of MT neurons in sufentanil/nitrous oxide-anesthetized marmoset monkeys, a species that has attracted considerable recent interest as an animal model for vision research. We found that MT neurons show a wide range of neurometric thresholds and that the responses of the most sensitive neurons could account for the behavioral performance of macaques and humans. We also investigated factors that contributed to the wide range of observed thresholds. The difference in firing rate between responses to motion in the preferred and null directions was the most effective predictor of neurometric threshold, whereas the direction tuning bandwidth had no correlation with the threshold. We also showed that it is possible to obtain reliable estimates of neurometric thresholds using stimuli that were not highly optimized for each neuron, as is often necessary when recording from large populations of neurons with different receptive field concurrently, as was the case in this study. These results demonstrate that marmoset MT shows an essential physiological similarity to macaque MT and suggest that its neurons are capable of representing motion signals that allow for comparable motion-in-noise judgments. NEW & NOTEWORTHY We report the activity of neurons in marmoset MT in response to random-dot motion stimuli of varying coherence. The information carried by individual MT neurons was comparable to that of the macaque, and the maximum firing rates were a strong predictor of sensitivity. Our study provides key information regarding the neural basis of motion perception in the marmoset, a small primate species that is becoming increasingly popular as an experimental model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1567-1580
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Volume118
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017

Keywords

  • Marmoset
  • Middle temporal area
  • Motion
  • Multielectrode arrays
  • Random-dot

Cite this

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title = "Sensitivity of neurons in the middle temporal area of marmoset monkeys to random dot motion",
abstract = "Neurons in the middle temporal area (MT) of the primate cerebral cortex respond to moving visual stimuli. The sensitivity of MT neurons to motion signals can be characterized by using random-dot stimuli, in which the strength of the motion signal is manipulated by adding different levels of noise (elements that move in random directions). In macaques, this has allowed the calculation of “neurometric” thresholds. We characterized the responses of MT neurons in sufentanil/nitrous oxide-anesthetized marmoset monkeys, a species that has attracted considerable recent interest as an animal model for vision research. We found that MT neurons show a wide range of neurometric thresholds and that the responses of the most sensitive neurons could account for the behavioral performance of macaques and humans. We also investigated factors that contributed to the wide range of observed thresholds. The difference in firing rate between responses to motion in the preferred and null directions was the most effective predictor of neurometric threshold, whereas the direction tuning bandwidth had no correlation with the threshold. We also showed that it is possible to obtain reliable estimates of neurometric thresholds using stimuli that were not highly optimized for each neuron, as is often necessary when recording from large populations of neurons with different receptive field concurrently, as was the case in this study. These results demonstrate that marmoset MT shows an essential physiological similarity to macaque MT and suggest that its neurons are capable of representing motion signals that allow for comparable motion-in-noise judgments. NEW & NOTEWORTHY We report the activity of neurons in marmoset MT in response to random-dot motion stimuli of varying coherence. The information carried by individual MT neurons was comparable to that of the macaque, and the maximum firing rates were a strong predictor of sensitivity. Our study provides key information regarding the neural basis of motion perception in the marmoset, a small primate species that is becoming increasingly popular as an experimental model.",
keywords = "Marmoset, Middle temporal area, Motion, Multielectrode arrays, Random-dot",
author = "Chaplin, {Tristan A.} and Allitt, {Benjamin J.} and Hagan, {Maureen A.} and Price, {Nicholas S. C.} and Ramesh Rajan and Rosa, {Marcello G. P.} and Lui, {Leo L.}",
year = "2017",
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language = "English",
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pages = "1567--1580",
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TY - JOUR

T1 - Sensitivity of neurons in the middle temporal area of marmoset monkeys to random dot motion

AU - Chaplin, Tristan A.

AU - Allitt, Benjamin J.

AU - Hagan, Maureen A.

AU - Price, Nicholas S. C.

AU - Rajan, Ramesh

AU - Rosa, Marcello G. P.

AU - Lui, Leo L.

PY - 2017/9/1

Y1 - 2017/9/1

N2 - Neurons in the middle temporal area (MT) of the primate cerebral cortex respond to moving visual stimuli. The sensitivity of MT neurons to motion signals can be characterized by using random-dot stimuli, in which the strength of the motion signal is manipulated by adding different levels of noise (elements that move in random directions). In macaques, this has allowed the calculation of “neurometric” thresholds. We characterized the responses of MT neurons in sufentanil/nitrous oxide-anesthetized marmoset monkeys, a species that has attracted considerable recent interest as an animal model for vision research. We found that MT neurons show a wide range of neurometric thresholds and that the responses of the most sensitive neurons could account for the behavioral performance of macaques and humans. We also investigated factors that contributed to the wide range of observed thresholds. The difference in firing rate between responses to motion in the preferred and null directions was the most effective predictor of neurometric threshold, whereas the direction tuning bandwidth had no correlation with the threshold. We also showed that it is possible to obtain reliable estimates of neurometric thresholds using stimuli that were not highly optimized for each neuron, as is often necessary when recording from large populations of neurons with different receptive field concurrently, as was the case in this study. These results demonstrate that marmoset MT shows an essential physiological similarity to macaque MT and suggest that its neurons are capable of representing motion signals that allow for comparable motion-in-noise judgments. NEW & NOTEWORTHY We report the activity of neurons in marmoset MT in response to random-dot motion stimuli of varying coherence. The information carried by individual MT neurons was comparable to that of the macaque, and the maximum firing rates were a strong predictor of sensitivity. Our study provides key information regarding the neural basis of motion perception in the marmoset, a small primate species that is becoming increasingly popular as an experimental model.

AB - Neurons in the middle temporal area (MT) of the primate cerebral cortex respond to moving visual stimuli. The sensitivity of MT neurons to motion signals can be characterized by using random-dot stimuli, in which the strength of the motion signal is manipulated by adding different levels of noise (elements that move in random directions). In macaques, this has allowed the calculation of “neurometric” thresholds. We characterized the responses of MT neurons in sufentanil/nitrous oxide-anesthetized marmoset monkeys, a species that has attracted considerable recent interest as an animal model for vision research. We found that MT neurons show a wide range of neurometric thresholds and that the responses of the most sensitive neurons could account for the behavioral performance of macaques and humans. We also investigated factors that contributed to the wide range of observed thresholds. The difference in firing rate between responses to motion in the preferred and null directions was the most effective predictor of neurometric threshold, whereas the direction tuning bandwidth had no correlation with the threshold. We also showed that it is possible to obtain reliable estimates of neurometric thresholds using stimuli that were not highly optimized for each neuron, as is often necessary when recording from large populations of neurons with different receptive field concurrently, as was the case in this study. These results demonstrate that marmoset MT shows an essential physiological similarity to macaque MT and suggest that its neurons are capable of representing motion signals that allow for comparable motion-in-noise judgments. NEW & NOTEWORTHY We report the activity of neurons in marmoset MT in response to random-dot motion stimuli of varying coherence. The information carried by individual MT neurons was comparable to that of the macaque, and the maximum firing rates were a strong predictor of sensitivity. Our study provides key information regarding the neural basis of motion perception in the marmoset, a small primate species that is becoming increasingly popular as an experimental model.

KW - Marmoset

KW - Middle temporal area

KW - Motion

KW - Multielectrode arrays

KW - Random-dot

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U2 - 10.1152/jn.00065.2017

DO - 10.1152/jn.00065.2017

M3 - Article

VL - 118

SP - 1567

EP - 1580

JO - Journal of Neurophysiology

JF - Journal of Neurophysiology

SN - 0022-3077

IS - 3

ER -