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Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!
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"Exposing the truth to wipe out animal experimentation"

Government Grants Promoting Cruelty to Animals

University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX

EYAL J. SEIDEMANN - Primate Testing - 2007

Grant Number: 5R01EY016454-03
Project Title: Linking neural population activity and visual perception
PI Information: EYAL J. SEIDEMANN, [email protected] 

Abstract: DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The overall goal of the proposed research is to provide quantitative understanding of the relationship between neural activity in the primate visual cortex (V1) and behavioral performance in pattern detection tasks. To achieve this goal, monkeys will be trained to perform a demanding visual detection task. While the monkey performs this task, we will use optical imaging with voltage sensitive dyes in conjunction with electrophysiology, to monitor neural population activity in V1. Detailed understanding of the relationship between neural responses in V1 and behavioral performance in this task necessitates explanations of the relationships between three sets of variables: the visual stimuli, neural responses in V1, and the subject's psychophysical performance on the detection task. Our first two aims focus on two fundamental causal relationships between these three variables. In Aim #1 our goal is to determine how visual information regarding the target and the background is represented by populations of V1 neurons. We will address three primary questions: (i) what is the quality of the signals that are provided by V1 to the rest of the visual system, (ii) how is this information distributed in V1, and (iii) what is the optimal way to extract this information from V1? To form a decision regarding the presence or absence of the target, neural circuits subsequent to V1 must 'read out' and interpret the neural signals provided by populations of V1 neurons. Our goal in Aim #2 is to determine which neurons in V1 contribute to the perceptual decision regarding the presence of the target, and how their signals might be pooled to form this decision. Finally, these two fundamental relationships - the encoding of visual information by V1 neurons, and the decoding of V1 responses by subsequent processing stages - may change, depending on the behavioral task. In Aim #3, we propose to vary the task by changing target uncertainty. We will examine the effects of target uncertainty on both behavioral responses and neural responses in V1.

Public Health Relevance:
This Public Health Relevance is not available.

Thesaurus Terms:
form /pattern perception, neural transmission, visual cortex, visual perception psychophysics, sensory signal detection, stimulus /response, training, visual stimulus Macaca mulatta, behavior test, behavioral /social science research tag, dye, electrophysiology, optics, vision test

PO BOX 7726
AUSTIN, TX 78713
Fiscal Year: 2007
Department: PSYCHOLOGY
Project Start: 01-MAY-2005
Project End: 30-APR-2010

J Neurosci. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2008 January 14.
Published in final edited form as: J Neurosci. 2007 July 25; 27(30): 8122–8137.
doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1940-07.2007. PMCID: PMC2198904
NIHMSID: NIHMS36345 Copyright notice and Disclaimer

Linking Neuronal and Behavioral Performance in a Reaction-Time Visual Detection Task

Chris Palmer, Shao-Ying Cheng, and Eyal Seidemann
Department of Psychology and Center for Perceptual Systems, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Eyal Seidemann, Department of Psychology and Center for Perceptual Systems, The University of Texas at Austin, 108 East Dean Keeton, 1 University Station A8000, Austin, TX 78712-0187. E-mail: [email protected] 

Subjects and surgery

Three monkeys (Macaca mulatta) were used in this study. Monkeys underwent two surgical procedures. In the first procedure, a head-restraining device was implanted, and two custom-designed recording chambers were positioned over the skull above V1 in both hemispheres. After a recovery period, the animal went through an extensive period of training on the visual detection task. Animals were trained using standard operant conditioning techniques in which water and juice were used as positive rewards. During training and recording sessions (2–5 h long), each animal was seated comfortably in a primate chair with its head restrained. Once the animal reached a stable level of performance on the task, a second surgery was performed to prepare the monkey for optical and electrophysiological recordings. In this surgery, a cranial window was opened, and the dura was resected and replaced by a transparent artificial dura (Arieli et al., 2002). Within several weeks after this surgical procedure, the animal’s dura healed and formed a tight seal around a silicone ring extending out from the artificial dura, leaving a central region clear for optical and electrophysiological recordings. The chamber was covered by a transparent plastic cover with a small hole plugged by a rubber gasket.

The animals used in this study were also used in voltage-sensitive dye (VSD) imaging experiments (Chen et al., 2006). Some electrophysiological recordings were conducted simultaneously with the imaging experiments, but most were conducted in separate sessions. We did not find significant differences in behavioral or neural performance between experiments in which electrophysiological recordings were conducted separately or simultaneously with VSD imaging. In addition, we did not observe any systematic changes in neuronal or behavioral sensitivities as a function of the number of VSD imaging sessions conducted before the electrophysiological recordings. These results suggest that VSD imaging does not have a short-term or a long-term effect on behavioral and neuronal detection sensitivities.

All surgical procedures were performed under deep anesthesia, using strictly sterile techniques, in a dedicated surgical suite. All procedures were approved by the University of Texas Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee and conformed to National Institutes of Health standards.

Please email:  EYAL J. SEIDEMANN, [email protected] to protest the inhumane use of animals in this experiment. We would also love to know about your efforts with this cause: [email protected]

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Rats, mice, birds, amphibians and other animals have been excluded from coverage by the Animal Welfare Act. Therefore research facility reports do not include these animals. As a result of this situation, a blank report, or one with few animals listed, does not mean that a facility has not performed experiments on non-reportable animals. A blank form does mean that the facility in question has not used covered animals (primates, dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, pigs, sheep, goats, etc.). Rats and mice alone are believed to comprise over 90% of the animals used in experimentation. Therefore the majority of animals used at research facilities are not even counted.

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