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Neural Computation

July 1, 1997, Vol. 9, No. 5, Pages 1071-1092
(doi: 10.1162/neco.1997.9.5.1071)
© 1997 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Paradigmatic Working Memory (Attractor) Cell in IT Cortex
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We discuss paradigmatic properties of the activity of single cells comprising an attractor—a developed stable delay activity distribution. To demonstrate these properties and a methodology for measuring their values, we present a detailed account of the spike activity recorded from a single cell in the inferotemporal cortex of a monkey performing a delayed match-to-sample (DMS) task of visual images. In particular, we discuss and exemplify (1) the relation between spontaneous activity and activity immediately preceding the first stimulus in each trial during a series of DMS trials, (2) the effect on the visual response (i.e., activity during stimulation) of stimulus degradation (moving in the space of IT afferents), (3) the behavior of the delay activity (i.e., activity following visual stimulation) under stimulus degradation (attractor dynamics and the basin of attraction), and (4) the propagation of information between trials—the vehicle for the formation of (contextual) correlations by learning a fixed stimulus sequence (Miyashita, 1988). In the process of the discussion and demonstration, we expose effective tools for the identification and characterization of attractor dynamics.1

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