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A dynamic sequence of visual processing initiated by gaze shifts


Animals move their head and eyes as they explore the visual scene. Neural correlates of these movements have been found in rodent primary visual cortex (V1), but their sources and computational roles are unclear. We addressed this by combining head and eye movement measurements with neural recordings in freely moving mice. V1 neurons responded primarily to gaze shifts, where head movements are accompanied by saccadic eye movements, rather than to head movements where compensatory eye movements stabilize gaze. A variety of activity patterns followed gaze shifts and together these formed a temporal sequence that was absent in darkness. Gaze-shift responses resembled those evoked by sequentially flashed stimuli, suggesting a large component corresponds to onset of new visual input. Notably, neurons responded in a sequence that matches their spatial frequency bias, consistent with coarse-to-fine processing. Recordings in freely gazing marmosets revealed a similar sequence following saccades, also aligned to spatial frequency preference. Our results demonstrate that active vision in both mice and marmosets consists of a dynamic temporal sequence of neural activity associated with visual sampling.


Philip R. L. Parker, Dylan M. Martins, Emmalyn S. P. Leonard, Nathan M. Casey, Shelby L. Sharp, Elliott T. T. Abe, Matthew C. Smear, Jacob L. Yates, Jude F. Mitchell, Cristopher M. Niell

Published: 2023

PMID: 37996524


P64-3, P128-6

Research Area:

Visual System, Computational Neuroscience


Mouse, NHP