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This article is part of the supplement: Sixteenth Annual Computational Neuroscience Meeting: CNS*2007

Open Access Poster presentation

Attentional modulation in a two-layer system

Andres Buehlmann* and Gustavo Deco

Author Affiliations

Department of Technology, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain

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BMC Neuroscience 2007, 8(Suppl 2):P39  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-8-S2-P39

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published:6 July 2007

© 2007 Buehlmann and Deco; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Poster presentation

Experimental works have shown that the attentional modulation of firing rates increases along the visual pathway. It has also been shown that attention modulates the gamma-frequency synchronisation. In electrophysiological experiments, these modulations have been found in layer V4 [1] but not in layer V1 [2]. In this modelling work, we study how selective attention modulates neuronal activity in different layers of the visual system. We use a two-layer model of integrate-and-fire neurons, modelling attention as an external input biasing the competition. We study the influence of the attentional bias on both the modulation of the firing rates and the gamma frequency synchronisation in both layers. We show that the gamma frequency synchronisation is much higher in the upper layer (V4) than in the lower layer (V1). In addition, the modulation of the synchronisation is generally stronger in the higher layer. Our findings are thus consistent with an increase of the gamma frequency modulation along the visual pathway. This might explain the different findings in [1] and [2], as they measured from different layers in the visual system. We also analyse attentional modulations as a function of the connection strength between the two layers. Our results show that depending on the connection strength, either the rate modulation or the gamma frequency modulation is stronger, suggesting that both play an active role in the encoding of attention.


The study has been supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation.


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    Science 2001, 291:1560-1563. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text OpenURL

  2. Roelfsema PR, Lamme VAF, Spekreijse H: Synchrony and covariation of firing rates in the primary visual cortex during contour grouping.

    Nat Neurosci 2004, 7:982-991. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text OpenURL