To see or not to see - Attentional modulation of motion processing in primate visual cortex

22 January 2013
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Our senses provide much more information to the central nervous system then can be
adequately processed. We use attention as a powerful selection mechanism for focussing
processing ressources on the small fraction of incoming information that is behaviorally
relevant at a given moment. I will present experimental findings focusing on the influence
of spatial and feature-based attention on areas in the dorsal pathway of macaque visual
cortex, in particular area MT. The attentional modulation appears to have a multiplicative
influence on neural responses, but it is still able to create non-multiplicative changes in
receptive field profiles and population responses. These physiological effects are well
matched to the perceptual consequences of allocating attention, namely an enhanced
perception of attended objects at the expense of the perceptual strength of unattended
portions of the visual input.