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Author Notes:

correspondence: Bilal Haider, bilal.haider@bme.gatech.edu

A.S., J.D.R. and B.H. performed experiments; A.S., B.H., J.D.R. and N.M. performed data analysis; B.H. designed the study; B.H., A.S. and J.D.R. wrote the paper.

We thank Alexander Zorn and Hayley Arrowood for technical assistance, Aman Saleem and Chris Burgess for advice on behavior, James Mazer and Dobromir Rahnev for comments on the paper, and Matteo Carandini for support in the initial phase of the study.

The data structures and code that support the main findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request. Data will also be made available from the corresponding author’s institutional website (https://haider.gatech.edu/).

The authors declare no competing interests.


Research Funding:

J.D.R. was funded by Goizueta Foundation and Sloan Foundation

B.H. was funded by the Whitehall Foundation, Sloan Foundation, GT Neural Engineering Center, NIH NINDS (1R01NS107968), and NIH BRAIN Initiative (1R01NS109978)


  • Science & Technology
  • Multidisciplinary Sciences
  • Science & Technology - Other Topics
  • V1

Spatial attention enhances network, cellular and subthreshold responses in mouse visual cortex


Journal Title:

Nature Communications


Volume 11, Number 1


, Pages 505-505

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Internal brain states strongly modulate sensory processing during behaviour. Studies of visual processing in primates show that attention to space selectively improves behavioural and neural responses to stimuli at the attended locations. Here we develop a visual spatial task for mice that elicits behavioural improvements consistent with the effects of spatial attention, and simultaneously measure network, cellular, and subthreshold activity in primary visual cortex. During trial-by-trial behavioural improvements, local field potential (LFP) responses to stimuli detected inside the receptive field (RF) strengthen. Moreover, detection inside the RF selectively enhances excitatory and inhibitory neuron responses to task-irrelevant stimuli and suppresses noise correlations and low frequency LFP fluctuations. Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings reveal that detection inside the RF increases synaptic activity that depolarizes membrane potential responses at the behaviorally relevant location. Our study establishes that mice display fundamental signatures of visual spatial attention spanning behavioral, network, cellular, and synaptic levels, providing new insight into rapid cognitive enhancement of sensory signals in visual cortex.

Copyright information:

© 2020, The Author(s).

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
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