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Multisensory task demands temporally extend the causal requirement for visual cortex in perception

Publication year 2022
Published in Nature Communications
Authors Matthijs N Oude Lohuis, Jean L Pie, Pietro Marchesi, Jorrit Montijn, Christiaan P J de Kock, Cyriel M A Pennartz, Umberto Olcese

Primary sensory areas constitute crucial nodes during perceptual decision making. However, it remains unclear to what extent they mainly constitute a feedforward processing step, or rather are continuously involved in a recurrent network together with higher-order areas. We found that the temporal window in which primary visual cortex is required for the detection of identical visual stimuli was extended when task demands were increased via an additional sensory modality that had to be monitored. Late-onset optogenetic inactivation preserved bottom-up, early-onset responses which faithfully encoded stimulus features, and was effective in impairing detection only if it preceded a late, report-related phase of the cortical response. Increasing task demands were marked by longer reaction times and the effect of late optogenetic inactivation scaled with reaction time. Thus, independently of visual stimulus complexity, multisensory task demands determine the temporal requirement for ongoing sensory-related activity in V1, which overlaps with report-related activity.

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