The leading sense: supramodal control of neurophysiological context by attention.
ABSTRACT Attending to a stimulus enhances its neuronal representation, even at the level of primary sensory cortex. Cross-modal modulation can similarly enhance a neuronal representation, and this process can also operate at the primary cortical level. Phase reset of ongoing neuronal oscillatory activity has been shown to be an important element of the underlying modulation of local cortical excitability in both cases. We investigated the influence of attention on oscillatory phase reset in primary auditory and visual cortices of macaques performing an intermodal selective attention task. In addition to responses "driven" by preferred modality stimuli, we noted that both preferred and nonpreferred modality stimuli could "modulate" local cortical excitability by phase reset of ongoing oscillatory activity, and that this effect was linked to their being attended. These findings outline a supramodal mechanism by which attention can control neurophysiological context, thus determining the representation of specific sensory content in primary sensory cortex.
Article: Temporal structure in spatially organized neuronal ensembles: a role for interneuronal networks.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Network oscillations are postulated to be instrumental for synchronizing the activity of anatomically distributed populations of neurons. Results from recent studies on the physiology of cortical interneurons suggest that through their interconnectivity, they can maintain large-scale oscillations at various frequencies (4-12 Hz, 40-100 Hz and 200 Hz). We suggest that networks of inhibitory interneurons within the forebrain impose co-ordinated oscillatory 'contexts' for the 'content' carried by networks of principal cells. These oscillating inhibitory networks may provide the precise temporal structure necessary for ensembles of neurons to perform specific functions, including sensory binding and memory formation.Current Opinion in Neurobiology 09/1995; 5(4):504-10. · 7.44 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Attending to a stimulus is known to enhance the neural responses to that stimulus. Recent experiments on visual attention have shown that this modulation can have object-based characteristics, such that, when certain parts of a visual object are attended, other parts automatically also receive enhanced processing. Here, we investigated whether visual attention can modulate neural responses to other components of a multisensory object defined by synchronous, but spatially disparate, auditory and visual stimuli. The audiovisual integration of such multisensory stimuli typically leads to mislocalization of the sound toward the visual stimulus (ventriloquism illusion). Using event-related potentials and functional MRI, we found that the brain's response to task-irrelevant sounds occurring synchronously with a visual stimulus from a different location was larger when that accompanying visual stimulus was attended versus unattended. The event-related potential effect consisted of sustained, frontally distributed, brain activity that emerged relatively late in processing, an effect resembling attention-related enhancements seen at earlier latencies during intramodal auditory attention. Moreover, the functional MRI data confirmed that the effect included specific enhancement of activity in auditory cortex. These findings indicate that attention to one sensory modality can spread to encompass simultaneous signals from another modality, even when they are task-irrelevant and from a different location. This cross-modal attentional spread appears to reflect an object-based, late selection process wherein spatially discrepant auditory stimulation is grouped with synchronous attended visual input into a multisensory object, resulting in the auditory information being pulled into the attentional spotlight and bestowed with enhanced processing.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 01/2006; 102(51):18751-6. · 9.68 Impact Factor
Article: An oscillatory hierarchy controlling neuronal excitability and stimulus processing in the auditory cortex.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: EEG oscillations are hypothesized to reflect cyclical variations in the neuronal excitability, with particular frequency bands reflecting differing spatial scales of brain operation. However, despite decades of clinical and scientific investigation, there is no unifying theory of EEG organization, and the role of ongoing activity in sensory processing remains controversial. This study analyzed laminar profiles of synaptic activity [current source density CSD] and multiunit activity (MUA), both spontaneous and stimulus-driven, in primary auditory cortex of awake macaque monkeys. Our results reveal that the EEG is hierarchically organized; delta (1-4 Hz) phase modulates theta (4-10 Hz) amplitude, and theta phase modulates gamma (30-50 Hz) amplitude. This oscillatory hierarchy controls baseline excitability and thus stimulus-related responses in a neuronal ensemble. We propose that the hierarchical organization of ambient oscillatory activity allows auditory cortex to structure its temporal activity pattern so as to optimize the processing of rhythmic inputs.Journal of Neurophysiology 10/2005; 94(3):1904-11. · 3.32 Impact Factor