Obedient sensory neurons

Oct 26, 2010 By Adarsh Sandhu
Dr. Koida and Fig.1: Schematic illustration of the recording site (red) within a lateral view of the monkey cerebral cortex. Copyright : Toyohashi University of Technology

Using monkey electrophysiology, Dr. Koida and Dr. Komatsu (Toyohashi University of Technology, Japan) found that task demand altered the response of the inferior temporal neurons.

In the of the primate, color information is transmitted from the occipital lobe to the temporal lobe, and ultimately reaches the inferior tempora (IT) cortex.

There are two different functions in , namely categorization and fine discrimination, both of which are clearly apparent in color vision. Human, and presumably , can switch between these two functions depending on task demands. The question arises as to whether task changes affect the response of the IT .

Using monkey electrophysiology, Kowa Koida now at the Electronics-Inspired Interdisciplinary Research Institute (EIIRIS) in collaboration with and Hidehiko Komatsu of the National Institute for Physiological Sciences, Okazaki, Japan found that task demand altered the response of the inferior temporal neurons.

In their experiments, researchers recorded the activities of color-selective neurons in the IT cortex, whilst the animal performed two different tasks: A color categorization task, which required the animal to classify sample colors into two color categories—reddish or greenish; and a fine color discrimination task, in which the animal selected one of two choice stimuli that was the same color as the sample stimulus.

The experiments clearly showed the color categorization task to enhance the response, and the fine color-discrimination task to suppress it.

These results suggest that the flow of color information from the IT cortex is strongly controlled by top-down signals representing the ongoing task rule presumably sent from the prefrontal cortex.

Explore further: New MRI technique helps clinicians better predict outcomes following mild traumatic brain injury

More information: Nature Neuroscience 10, 108 (2007). DOI:10.1038/nn1823

Provided by Toyohashi University of Technology

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Brain mechanisms for behavioral flexibility

Apr 15, 2009

New research provides insight into how the brain can execute different actions in response to the same stimulus. The study, published by Cell Press in the April 16 issue of the journal Neuron, suggests that i ...

Yes, we have no blue bananas

Oct 19, 2006

German scientists say color perception depends not only on an object's pigmentation but also on our knowledge of what the object should look like.

Why it is impossible for some to 'just say no'

Oct 10, 2007

Drug abuse, crime and obesity are but a few of the problems our nation faces, but they all have one thing in common—people’s failure to control their behavior in the face of temptation. While the ability to control and ...

More than meets the tongue

Feb 12, 2007

Does orange juice taste sweeter if it's a brighter orange? A new study in the March issue of the Journal of Consumer Research finds that the color of a drink can influence how we think it tastes. In fact, the researchers found ...

Recommended for you

Emotions in the brain

5 hours ago

This year has been a busy one for biologist David Anderson, Caltech's Seymour Benzer Professor of Biology. In 2014 alone, Anderson's lab has reported finding neurons in the male fly brain that promote fighting and, in the mouse brain, identified a "se ...

Optogenetics has 'completely changed neuroscience'

Sep 16, 2014

It's getting harder to find the line between science and science fiction. One of the hot research techniques these days, "optogenetics," uses gene therapy to deliver light-sensitive proteins to specific cells. Then researchers ...

User comments : 0