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Involvement of superior colliculus in complex figure detection of mice

Research group Roelfsema
Publication year 2024
Published in eLife
Authors J Leonie Cazemier, Robin Haak, T K Loan Tran, Ann T Y Hsu, Medina Husic, Brandon D Peri, Lisa Kirchberger, Matthew W Self, Pieter Roelfsema, J Alexander Heimel

Object detection is an essential function of the visual system. Although the visual cortex plays an important role in object detection, the superior colliculus can support detection when the visual cortex is ablated or silenced. Moreover, it has been shown that superficial layers of mouse SC (sSC) encode visual features of complex objects, and that this code is not inherited from the primary visual cortex. This suggests that mouse sSC may provide a significant contribution to complex object vision. Here, we use optogenetics to show that mouse sSC is involved in figure detection based on differences in figure contrast, orientation, and phase. Additionally, our neural recordings show that in mouse sSC, image elements that belong to a figure elicit stronger activity than those same elements when they are part of the background. The discriminability of this neural code is higher for correct trials than for incorrect trials. Our results provide new insight into the behavioral relevance of the visual processing that takes place in sSC.

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