A neuronal basis of iconic memory in macaque primary visual cortex.

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After a briefly presented visual stimulus disappears, observers retain a detailed representation of this stimulus for a short period of time. This sensory storage is called iconic memory. We measured iconic memory in the perception of monkeys and its neuronal correlates in the primary visual cortex (area V1). We determined how many milliseconds extra viewing time iconic memory is worth and how it decays by varying the duration of a brief stimulus and the timing of a mask. The V1 activity that persists after the disappearance of a stimulus predicted accuracy, with a time course resembling the worth and decay of iconic memory. Finally, we examined how iconic memory interacts with attention. A cue presented after the stimulus disappears boosts attentional influences pertaining to a relevant part of the stimulus but only if it appears before iconic memory decayed. Our results relate iconic memory to neuronal activity in early visual cortex.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
JournalCurrent Biology
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


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