Synchronization of Oscillatory Responses in Visual Cortex Correlates with Perception in Interocular Rivalry
In subjects suffering from early onset strabismus, signals conveyed by the two eyes are not perceived simultaneously but in alternation. We exploited this phenomenon of interocular suppression to investigate the neuronal correlate of binocular rivalry in primary visual cortex of awake strabismic cats. Monocularly presented stimuli that were readily perceived by the animal evoked synchronized discharges with an oscillatory patterning in the γ-frequency range. Upon dichoptic stimulation, neurons responding to the stimulus that continued to be perceived increased the synchronicity and the regularity of their oscillatory patterning while the reverse was true for neurons responding to the stimulus that was no longer perceived. These differential changes were not associated with modifications of discharge rate, suggesting that at early stages of visual processing the degree of synchronicity rather than the amplitude of responses determines which signals are perceived and control behavioral responses.