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Article
Nature 291, 554 - 561 (18 June 1981); doi:10.1038/291554a0

Effects of sleep and arousal on the processing of visual information in the cat

Margaret S. Livingstone* & David H. Hubel

Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA
*Present address: Department of Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544, USA.

Single units in the cat lateral geniculate nucleus and primary visual cortex show changes in both spontaneous and visually evoked firing as a function of the state of wakefulness. On arousal spontaneous firing is smoother and often reduced, whereas evoked responses are usually enhanced; the result is an increase in the signal-to-noise ratio. Single- and double-label 2-deoxyglucose autoradiographs show further that slow-wave sleep differentially depresses visually evoked activity in the deeper layers of the visual cortex.

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