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Journal Article

Cross-Correlation Study of the Temporal Interactions Between Areas V1 and V2 of the Macaque Monkey


Munk,  MHJ
Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Nowak, L., Munk, M., James AC, Girard, P., & Bullier, J. (1999). Cross-Correlation Study of the Temporal Interactions Between Areas V1 and V2 of the Macaque Monkey. Journal of Neurophysiology, 81(3), 1057-1074. Retrieved from

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Cross-correlation study of the temporal interactions between areas V1 and V2 of the macaque monkey. Cross-correlation studies performed in cat visual cortex have shown that neurons in different cortical areas of the same hemisphere or in corresponding areas of opposite hemispheres tend to synchronize their activities. The presence of synchronization may be related to the parallel organization of the cat visual system, in which different cortical areas can be activated in parallel from the lateral geniculate nucleus. We wanted to determine whether interareal synchronization of firing can also be observed in the monkey, in which cortical areas are thought to be organized in a hierarchy spanning different levels. Cross-correlation histograms (CCHs) were calculated from pairs of single or pairs of multiunit activities simultaneously recorded in areas V1 and V2 of paralyzed and anesthetized macaque monkeys. Moving bars and flashed bars were used as stimuli. The shift predictor was calculated and subtracted from the raw CCH to reveal interactions of neuronal origin in isolation. Significant CCH peaks, indicating interactions of neuronal origin, were obtained in 11 of the dual single-unit recordings and 46 of the dual multiunit recordings with moving bars. The incidence of nonflat CCHs with flashed bars was 29 and 78, respectively. For the pairs of recording sites where both flashed and moving stimuli were used, the incidences of significant CCHs were very similar. Three types of peaks were distinguished on the basis of their width at half-height: T (<16 ms), C (between 16 and 180 ms), and H peaks (>180 ms). T peaks were very rarely observed (<1 in single-unit recordings). H peaks were observed in 7–16 of the single-unit CCHs, and C peaks in 6–16, depending on the stimulus used. C and H peaks were observed more often when the receptive fields were overlapping or distant by <2°. To test for the presence of synchronization between neurons in areas V1 and V2, we measured the position of the CCH peak with respect to the origin of the time axis of the CCH. Only in the case of a few T peaks did we find displaced peaks, indicating a possible drive of the V2 neuron by the simultaneously recorded V1 cell. All the other peaks were either centered on the origin or overlapped the origin of time with their upper halves. Thus similarly to what has been reported for the cat, neurons belonging to different cortical areas in the monkey tend to synchronize the time of emission of their action potentials with three different levels of temporal precision. For peaks calculated from flashed stimuli, we compared the peak position with the difference between latencies of V1 and V2 neurons. There was a clear correlation for single-unit pairs in the case of C peaks. Thus the position of a C peak on the time axis appears to reflect the order of visual activation of the correlated neurons. The coupling strength for H peaks was smaller during visual drive compared with spontaneous activity. On the contrary, C peaks were seen more often and were stronger during visual stimulation than during spontaneous activity. This suggests that C-type synchronization is associated with the processing of visual information. The origin of synchronized activity in a serially organized system is discussed.