Gamma oscillations have been hypothesized to play an important role in feature binding, based on the observation that continuous long bars induce stronger gamma in the visual cortex than bars with a small gap. Recently, many studies have shown that natural images, that have discontinuities in several low-level features, do not induce strong gamma oscillations, questioning their role in feature binding. However, the effect of different discontinuities on gamma has not been well studied. To address this, we recorded spikes and local field potential from two monkeys while they were shown gratings with discontinuities in space, orientation, phase or contrast. Gamma, but not spiking activity, drastically reduced with small discontinuities in all cases, suggesting that gamma could be a resonant phenomenon. An excitatory-inhibitory population model with stimulus-tuned recurrent inputs showed such resonant properties. Therefore, gamma could be a signature of excitation-inhibition balance, which gets disrupted due to discontinuities.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience