Repeated stimulation impacts neuronal responses. Here we show how response characteristics of sensory neurons in macaque visual cortex are influenced by the duration of the interruptions during intermittent stimulus presentation. Besides effects on response magnitude consistent with neuronal adaptation, the response variability was also systematically influenced. Spike rate variability in motion-sensitive area MT decreased when interruption durations were systematically increased from 250 to 2,000 ms. Activity fluctuations between subsequent trials and Fano factors over full response sequences were both lower with longer interruptions, while spike timing patterns became more regular. These variability changes partially depended on the response magnitude, but another significant effect that was uncorrelated with adaptation-induced changes in response magnitude was also present. Reduced response variability was furthermore accompanied by changes in spike-field coherence, pointing to the possibility that reduced spiking variability results from interactions in the local cortical network. While neuronal response stabilization may be a general effect of repeated sensory stimulation, we discuss its potential link with the phenomenon of perceptual stabilization of ambiguous stimuli as a result of interrupted presentation.
- BSS-Neurotechnology and cellular engineering
- Visual cortex
- Ambiguous stimuli
- spike-field coherence