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Rapid learning in cortical coding of visual scenes

Nature Neuroscience volume 10, pages 772778 (2007) | Download Citation

Abstract

Experience-dependent plasticity in adult visual cortex is believed to have important roles in visual coding and perceptual learning. Here we show that repeated stimulation with movies of natural scenes induces a rapid improvement in response reliability in cat visual cortex, whereas stimulation with white noise or flashed bar stimuli does not. The improved reliability can be accounted for by a selective increase in spiking evoked by preferred stimuli, and the magnitude of improvement depends on the sparseness of the response. The increase in reliability persists for at least several minutes in the absence of further movie stimulation. During this period, spontaneous spiking activity shows detectable reverberation of the movie-evoked responses. Thus, repeated exposure to natural stimuli not only induces a rapid improvement in cortical response reliability, but also leaves a 'memory trace' in subsequent spontaneous activity.

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Acknowledgements

We thank H. Sompolinsky for helpful discussions. This work was supported by a grant from the US National Eye Institute (EY 015180).

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Division of Neurobiology, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.

    • Haishan Yao
    • , Hongfeng Gao
    •  & Yang Dan
  2. Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.

    • Haishan Yao
    • , Lei Shi
    • , Hongfeng Gao
    •  & Yang Dan
  3. Group in Vision Science, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.

    • Feng Han
    •  & Yang Dan

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Yang Dan.

Supplementary information

Flash files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Video 1

    This is an example of the 30.1 s natural movies used in the experiments.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nn1895

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