Vibrotactile discrimination in the rat whisker system is based on neuronal coding of instantaneous kinematic cues.
Bottom Line: We find that discrimination performance based on instantaneous kinematic cues far exceeds the ones provided by frequency and intensity.Neuronal modeling based on barrel cortex single units shows that small populations of sensitive neurons provide a transient signal that optimally fits the characteristic of the subject's perception.The present study is the first to show that perceptual read-out is superior in situations allowing the subject to base perception on detailed trajectory cues, that is, instantaneous kinematic variables.
Affiliation: Werner Reichardt Center for Integrative Neuroscience, Systems Neuroscience, Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research, Department of Cognitive Neurology, Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen, Germany.Show MeSH
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Mentions: Three different manipulations were carried out to distinguish S+ (rewarded) from S− (nonrewarded) stimuli (Experiments 1a, b, and 2a). The first set of stimuli (used in Experiment 1a) varied frequency, and kinematic variables, but kept intensity constant (balanced change of the 2 basic parameters in opposite direction). The second set (used in Experiments 1b and 2b) varied intensity and instantaneous kinematic cues but kept frequency constant (exclusive manipulation of pulse amplitude). Finally, the third set (used in Experiment 2a) varied frequency and intensity, and kept instantaneous kinematic cues constant (exclusive manipulation of interpulse frequency) (cf. Fig. 1).Figure 1.
Affiliation: Werner Reichardt Center for Integrative Neuroscience, Systems Neuroscience, Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research, Department of Cognitive Neurology, Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen, Germany.