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Does V1 response suppression initiate binocular rivalry?

Publication year 2023
Published in iScience
Authors Brock M Carlson, Blake A Mitchell, Kacie Dougherty, J Westerberg, Michele A Cox, Alexander Maier

During binocular rivalry (BR) only one eye’s view is perceived. Neural underpinnings of BR are debated. Recent studies suggest that primary visual cortex (V1) initiates BR. One trigger might be response suppression across most V1 neurons at the onset of BR. Here, we utilize a variant of BR called binocular rivalry flash suppression (BRFS) to test this hypothesis. BRFS is identical to BR, except stimuli are shown with a ∼1s delay. If V1 response suppression was required to initiate BR, it should occur during BRFS as well. To test this, we compared V1 spiking in two macaques observing BRFS. We found that BRFS resulted in response facilitation rather than response suppression across V1 neurons. However, BRFS still reduces responses in a subset of V1 neurons due to the adaptive effects of asynchronous stimulus presentation. We argue that this selective response suppression could serve as an alternate initiator of BR.

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