Effects of temporal context and temporal expectancy on neural activity in inferior temporal cortex

Neuropsychologia. 2008 Mar 7;46(4):947-57. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2007.11.025. Epub 2007 Dec 5.


Timing is critical. The same event can mean different things at different times and some events are more likely to occur at one time than another. We used a cued visual classification task to evaluate how changes in temporal context affect neural responses in inferior temporal cortex, an extrastriate visual area known to be involved in object processing. On each trial a first image cued a temporal delay before a second target image appeared. The animal's task was to classify the second image by pressing one of two buttons previously associated with that target. All images were used as both cues and targets. Whether an image cued a delay time or signaled a button press depended entirely upon whether it was the first or second picture in a trial. This paradigm allowed us to compare inferior temporal cortex neural activity to the same image subdivided by temporal context and expectation. Neuronal spiking was more robust and visually evoked local field potentials (LFP's) larger for target presentations than for cue presentations. On invalidly cued trials, when targets appeared unexpectedly early, the magnitude of the evoked LFP was reduced and delayed and neuronal spiking was attenuated. Spike field coherence increased in the beta-gamma frequency range for expected targets. In conclusion, different neural responses in higher order ventral visual cortex may occur for the same visual image based on manipulations of temporal attention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Contrast Sensitivity / physiology
  • Cues
  • Eye Movements
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Temporal Lobe / cytology*
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology*
  • Time Factors