A powerful paradigm to identify neural correlates of consciousness is binocular rivalry, wherein a constant visual stimulus evokes a varying conscious percept. It has recently been suggested that activity modulations observed during rivalry may represent the act of report rather than the conscious percept itself. Here, we performed single-unit recordings from face patches in macaque inferotemporal (IT) cortex using a no-report paradigm in which the animal's conscious percept was inferred from eye movements. We found that high proportions of IT neurons represented the conscious percept even without active report. Furthermore, on single trials we could decode both the conscious percept and the suppressed stimulus. Together, these findings indicate that (1) IT cortex possesses a true neural correlate of consciousness, and (2) this correlate consists of a population code wherein single cells multiplex representation of the conscious percept and veridical physical stimulus, rather than a subset of cells perfectly reflecting consciousness.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files.
- Doris Y Tsao
- Doris Y Tsao
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All animal procedures in this study complied with local and National Institute of Health guidelines including the US National Institutes of Health Guide for Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. All experiments were performed with the approval of the Caltech Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), under protocol #1574.
Human subjects: The behavioral experiment with human subjects for the human psychophysics experiment complied with a protocol approved by the Caltech Institutional Review Board (IRB 19-0903). Informed consent was obtained from all subjects.
- Ming Meng, South China Normal University, China
© 2020, Hesse & Tsao
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.
Ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) fulfill an important role in communication and navigation in many species. Because of their social and affective significance, rodent USVs are increasingly used as a behavioral measure in neurodevelopmental and neurolinguistic research. Reliably attributing USVs to their emitter during close interactions has emerged as a difficult, key challenge. If addressed, all subsequent analyses gain substantial confidence. We present a hybrid ultrasonic tracking system, Hybrid Vocalization Localizer (HyVL), that synergistically integrates a high-resolution acoustic camera with high-quality ultrasonic microphones. HyVL is the first to achieve millimeter precision (~3.4–4.8 mm, 91% assigned) in localizing USVs, ~3× better than other systems, approaching the physical limits (mouse snout ~10 mm). We analyze mouse courtship interactions and demonstrate that males and females vocalize in starkly different relative spatial positions, and that the fraction of female vocalizations has likely been overestimated previously due to imprecise localization. Further, we find that when two male mice interact with one female, one of the males takes a dominant role in the interaction both in terms of the vocalization rate and the location relative to the female. HyVL substantially improves the precision with which social communication between rodents can be studied. It is also affordable, open-source, easy to set up, can be integrated with existing setups, and reduces the required number of experiments and animals.
How does the human brain combine information across the eyes? It has been known for many years that cortical normalization mechanisms implement ‘ocularity invariance’: equalizing neural responses to spatial patterns presented either monocularly or binocularly. Here, we used a novel combination of electrophysiology, psychophysics, pupillometry, and computational modeling to ask whether this invariance also holds for flickering luminance stimuli with no spatial contrast. We find dramatic violations of ocularity invariance for these stimuli, both in the cortex and also in the subcortical pathways that govern pupil diameter. Specifically, we find substantial binocular facilitation in both pathways with the effect being strongest in the cortex. Near-linear binocular additivity (instead of ocularity invariance) was also found using a perceptual luminance matching task. Ocularity invariance is, therefore, not a ubiquitous feature of visual processing, and the brain appears to repurpose a generic normalization algorithm for different visual functions by adjusting the amount of interocular suppression.