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The influence of spontaneous activity on stimulus processing in primary visual cortex.

ABSTRACT: Spontaneous activity in the resting human brain has been studied extensively; however, how such activity affects the local processing of a sensory stimulus is relatively unknown. Here, we examined the impact of spontaneous activity in primary visual cortex on neuronal and behavioural responses to a simple visual stimulus, using functional MRI. Stimulus-evoked responses remained essentially unchanged by spontaneous fluctuations, combining with them in a largely linear fashion (i.e., with little evidence for an interaction). However, interactions between spontaneous fluctuations and stimulus-evoked responses were evident behaviourally; high levels of spontaneous activity tended to be associated with increased stimulus detection at perceptual threshold. Our results extend those found in studies of spontaneous fluctuations in motor cortex and higher order visual areas, and suggest a fundamental role for spontaneous activity in stimulus processing.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC3382731 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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