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Predictive Coding of Novel versus Familiar Stimuli in the Primary Visual Cortex

By Jan Homann, Sue Ann Koay, Alistair M. Glidden, David W. Tank, Michael J. Berry

Posted 03 Oct 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/197608

To explore theories of predictive coding, we presented mice with repeated sequences of images with novel im- ages sparsely substituted. Under these conditions, mice could be rapidly trained to lick in response to a novel image, demonstrating a high level of performance on the first day of testing. Using 2-photon calcium imaging to record from layer 2/3 neurons in the primary visual cor- tex, we found that novel images evoked excess activity in the majority of neurons. When a new stimulus se- quence was repeatedly presented, a majority of neurons had similarly elevated activity for the first few presenta- tions, which then decayed to almost zero activity. The decay time of these transient responses was not fixed, but instead scaled with the length of the stimulus sequence. However, at the same time, we also found a small fraction of the neurons within the population (~2%) that contin- ued to respond strongly and periodically to the repeated stimulus. Decoding analysis demonstrated that both the transient and sustained responses encoded information about stimulus identity. We conclude that the layer 2/3 population uses a two-channel predictive code: a dense transient code for novel stimuli and a sparse sustained code for familiar stimuli. These results extend and unify existing theories about the nature of predictive neural codes.

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