Activity in primary visual cortex predicts performance in a visual detection task

David Ress, Benjamin T. Backus, David J. Heeger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Visual attention can affect both neural activity and behavior in humans. To quantify possible links between the two, we measured activity in early visual cortex (V1, V2 and V3) during a challenging pattern-detection task. Activity was dominated by a large response that was independent of the presence or absence of the stimulus pattern. The measured activity quantitatively predicted the subject's pattern-detection performance: when activity was greater, the subject was more likely to correctly discern the presence or absence of the pattern. This stimulus-independent activity had several characteristics of visual attention, suggesting that attentional mechanisms modulate activity in early visual cortex, and that this attention-related activity strongly influences performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)940-945
Number of pages6
JournalNature Neuroscience
Volume3
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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