Oscillatory activity of single units in a somatosensory cortex of an awake monkey and their possible role in texture analysis

Neuronal activity was extracellularly recorded in the cortex of an awake monkey (Macaca fascicularis). Single units displaying oscillatory firing patterns were found in the upper bank of the lateral sulcus in a region where most of the neurons responded to somatosensory stimuli. The spectral energies of the oscillating activity were distributed in a trimodal fashion–0-15, 15-50, and 80-250 Hz–with the most common frequencies around 30 Hz. The oscillatory activity was not affected by anesthesia, but it was often reduced by tactile stimulation or self-initiated movements. Analysis of the spike trains suggests that the majority of oscillatory activity was intrinsically generated by the neurons. A neural model of texture analysis is offered based on a corticothalamic phase-locked loop. The newly identified oscillators play a key role in this model. The relevance of the model to physiological, anatomical, and psychophysical data, as well as testable predictions, are discussed.

Authors: Ahissar E, Vaadia E.
Year of publication: 1990
Journal: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1990 Nov;87(22):8935-9.

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“Working memory”