Attentional modulation of neuronal variability in circuit models of cortex

  1. Tatjana Kanashiro
  2. Gabriel Koch Ocker
  3. Marlene R Cohen
  4. Brent Doiron  Is a corresponding author
  1. Carnegie Mellon University and University of Pittsburgh, United States
  2. University of Pittsburgh, United States
  3. Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, United States

Abstract

The circuit mechanisms behind shared neural variability (noise correlation) and its dependence on neural state are poorly understood. Visual attention is well-suited to constrain cortical models of response variability because attention both increases firing rates and their stimulus sensitivity, as well as decreases noise correlations. We provide a novel analysis of population recordings in rhesus primate visual area V4 showing that a single biophysical mechanism may underlie these diverse neural correlates of attention. We explore model cortical networks where top-down mediated increases in excitability, distributed across excitatory and inhibitory targets, capture the key neuronal correlates of attention. Our models predict that top-down signals primarily affect inhibitory neurons, whereas excitatory neurons are more sensitive to stimulus specific bottom-up inputs. Accounting for trial variability in models of state dependent modulation of neuronal activity is a critical step in building a mechanistic theory of neuronal cognition.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Tatjana Kanashiro

    Program for Neural Computation, Carnegie Mellon University and University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Gabriel Koch Ocker

    Department of Mathematics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Marlene R Cohen

    Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, Pittsburgh, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-8583-4300
  4. Brent Doiron

    Department of Mathematics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, United States
    For correspondence
    bdoiron@pitt.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-6916-5511

Funding

Simons Collaboration on the Global Brain

  • Marlene R Cohen
  • Brent Doiron

National Institutes of Health (R01 EY022930)

  • Marlene R Cohen

National Science Foundation (DMS-1313225)

  • Tatjana Kanashiro
  • Gabriel Koch Ocker
  • Brent Doiron

National Science Foundation (DMS-1517082)

  • Gabriel Koch Ocker
  • Brent Doiron

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Peter Latham, University College London, United Kingdom

Ethics

Animal experimentation: All animal procedures were in accordance with the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of Harvard Medical School (Harvard IACUC protocol number: 04214).

Version history

  1. Received: December 8, 2016
  2. Accepted: May 20, 2017
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: June 7, 2017 (version 1)
  4. Accepted Manuscript updated: June 8, 2017 (version 2)
  5. Version of Record published: June 19, 2017 (version 3)

Copyright

© 2017, Kanashiro et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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  1. Tatjana Kanashiro
  2. Gabriel Koch Ocker
  3. Marlene R Cohen
  4. Brent Doiron
(2017)
Attentional modulation of neuronal variability in circuit models of cortex
eLife 6:e23978.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.23978

Share this article

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.23978

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