We developed a new method to estimate the spatial extent of summation, the cortical spread, of the local field potential (LFP) throughout all layers of macaque primary visual cortex V1 by taking advantage of the V1 retinotopic map. We mapped multi-unit activity and LFP visual responses with sparse-noise at several cortical sites simultaneously. The cortical magnification factor near the recording sites was precisely estimated by track reconstruction. The new method combined experimental measurements together with a model of signal summation to obtain the cortical spread of the LFP. This new method could be extended to cortical areas that have topographic maps such as S1 or A1, and to cortical areas without functional columnar maps, such as rodent visual cortex. In macaque V1, the LFP was the sum of signals from a very local region, the radius of which was on average 250 μm. The LFP's cortical spread varied across cortical layers, reaching a minimum value of 120 μm in layer 4B. An important functional consequence of the small cortical spread of the LFP is that the visual field maps of LFP and MUA recorded at a single electrode site were very similar. The similar spatial scale of the visual responses, the restricted cortical spread, and their laminar variation led to new insights about the sources and possible applications of the LFP.
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