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Measuring stimulus-evoked neurophysiological differentiation in distinct populations of neurons in mouse visual cortex

By William G. P. Mayner, William Marshall, Yazan N. Billeh, Saurabh R. Gandhi, Shiella Caldejon, Andrew Cho, Fiona Griffin, Nicole Hancock, Sophie Lambert, Eric Kenji Lee, Jennifer Luviano, Kyla Mace, Chelsea Nayan, Thuyanh Nguyan, Kat North, Sam Seid, Ali Williford, Chiara Cirelli, Peter Groblewski, Jerome Lecoq, Giulio Tononi, Christof Koch, Anton Arkhipov

Posted 27 Nov 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.11.27.400457

Despite significant progress in understanding neural coding, it remains unclear how the coordinated activity of large populations of neurons relates to what an observer actually perceives. Since neurophysiological differences must underlie differences among percepts, differentiation analysis -- quantifying distinct patterns of neurophysiological activity -- is an "inside out" approach that addresses this question. We used two-photon calcium imaging in mice to systematically survey stimulus-evoked neurophysiological differentiation in excitatory populations across 3 cortical layers (L2/3, L4, and L5) in each of 5 visual cortical areas (primary, lateral, anterolateral, posteromedial, and anteromedial) in response to naturalistic and phase-scrambled movie stimuli. We find that unscrambled stimuli evoke greater neurophysiological differentiation than scrambled stimuli specifically in L2/3 of the anterolateral and anteromedial areas, and that this effect is modulated by arousal state and locomotion. Contrariwise, decoding performance was far above chance and did not vary substantially across areas and layers. Differentiation also differed within the unscrambled stimulus set, suggesting that differentiation analysis may be used to probe the ethological relevance of individual stimuli.

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