Origins: Brain and Self Organization

By Karl Pribram | Go to book overview

Abstract

In this study we describe visually-triggered gamma oscillations in the optic tectum of awake pigeons. This study was motivated by the potential relevance of synchronous oscillatory responses in perceptual binding, in a laminated structure other than the mammalian neocortex. Tectal responses were recorded as local field potential and multi-unit activity by differential filtering. The local field potential was analyzed by computing its autocorrelation function and spectral power with a moving window applied to single response sweeps. The temporal structure of the spike trains was evaluated by computing averaged autocorrelograms. A damped sine wave function was fitted to the autocorrelograms in order to quantify the degree of oscillation of both signals. Epochs of significant oscillatory activity were observed in the local field potential in 60% of the trials (n=39). In all trials, significant oscillations occupied about 10% of the time the stimulus was present. The oscillatory events in both the local field potential and the multi- unit activity had frequencies in the range of 20-50 Hz. It is important to emphasize the great variability in the frequency and in the probability of occurrence of the oscillatory responses from trial to trial, which makes the oscillatory behavior of the tectal activity highly non-stationary. The oscillatory activity we describe in the avian tectum has characteristics similar to those reported in the mammalian neocortex. These findings from a fully awake animal strengthen the universality of oscillations as a possible carrier for synchronization of activity in the constitution of neuronal assemblies.

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