R.J.A. van Wezel
- Divisive normalization and neuronal oscillations in a single hierarchical framework of selective visual attention
- Frontiers in Neural Circuits
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- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS)
Divisive normalization models of covert attention commonly use spike rate modulations as indicators of the effect of top-down attention. In addition, an increasing number of studies have shown that top-down attention increases the synchronization of neuronal oscillations as well, particularly in gamma-band frequencies (25-100 Hz). Although modulations of spike rate and synchronous oscillations are not mutually exclusive as mechanisms of attention, there has thus far been little effort to integrate these concepts into a single framework of attention. Here, we aim to provide such a unified framework by expanding the normalization model of attention with a multi-level hierarchical structure and a time dimension; allowing the simulation of a recently reported backward progression of attentional effects along the visual cortical hierarchy. A simple cascade of normalization models simulating different cortical areas is shown to cause signal degradation and a loss of stimulus discriminability over time. To negate this degradation and ensure stable neuronal stimulus representations, we incorporate a kind of oscillatory phase entrainment into our model that has previously been proposed as the "communication-through-coherence" (CTC) hypothesis. Our analysis shows that divisive normalization and oscillation models can complement each other in a unified account of the neural mechanisms of selective visual attention. The resulting hierarchical normalization and oscillation (HNO) model reproduces several additional spatial and temporal aspects of attentional modulation and predicts a latency effect on neuronal responses as a result of cued attention.
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