Modeling the spatiotemporal cortical activity associated with the line-motion illusion in primary visual cortex

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Our large-scale computational model of the primary visual cortex that incorporates orientation-specific, long-range couplings with slow NMDA conductances operates in a fluctuating dynamic state of intermittent desuppression (IDS), which captures the behavior of coherent spontaneous cortical activity, as revealed by in vivo optical imaging based on voltage-sensitive dyes. Here, we address the functional significance of the IDS cortical operating points by investigating our model cortex response to the Hikosaka line-motion illusion (LMI) stimulus-a cue of a quickly flashed stationary square followed a few milliseconds later by a stationary bar. As revealed by voltage-sensitive dye imaging, there is an intriguing similarity between the cortical spatiotemporal activity in response to (i) the Hikosaka LMI stimulus and (ii) a small moving square. This similarity is believed to be associated with the preattentive illusory motion perception. Our numerical cortex produces similar spatiotemporal patterns in response to the two stimuli above, which are both in very good agreement with experimental results. The essential network mechanisms underpinning the LMI phenomenon in our model are (i) the spatiotemporal structure of the LMI input as sculpted by the lateral geniculate nucleus, (ii) a priming effect of the long-range NMDA-type cortical coupling, and (iii) the NMDA conductance-voltage correlation manifested in the IDS state. This mechanism in our model cortex, in turn, suggests a physiological underpinning for the LMI-associated patterns in the visual cortex of anaesthetized cat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18793-18800
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number52
StatePublished - Dec 27 2005


  • Cortical architecture
  • Cortical operating point
  • Lateral connections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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