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Wiretapping the Brain: Communication of Spatial Selectivity between Frontal and Parietal Cortices

Gerth, Rebecca (2019) Wiretapping the Brain: Communication of Spatial Selectivity between Frontal and Parietal Cortices. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Our interactions with the world around us are often guided by vision. The ability to perceive a visual stimulus and plan an eye movement to it requires the coordination of many brain areas. Though we have identified many networks of brain areas that work together during these processes, the content of the information exchanged between them is still poorly understood. We sought to answer this question by analyzing the flow of spatial selectivity information in simultaneously recorded neural activity of two cortical areas, the frontal eye fields (FEF) and the lateral intraparietal area (LIP).
First, we found that the spatial selectivity of the location of the visual stimulus but not the saccade target is well encoded by the local field potential (LFP) induced power. We determined this by comparing the spatial selectivity of the multi-unit neuronal activity (MUA) to that of the LFP at the same recording site. Next, we explored the interactions between FEF and LIP for insight into the exchange of information between the two areas. We analyzed the low-frequency neural signals across areas and found that there is less coherence between signals around the saccade onset when the saccade is directed to the preferred target location of both recording sites compared to the nonpreferred location. For a more direct analysis of the interactions between the two areas, we analyzed the LFP of one area with the MUA of the other by calculating the spike-field coherence (SFC). We found that a small number of recording site pairs exhibited significant SFC, but that the SFC was not significant across the population of pairs.
In summary, we found that the LFP signals both encode the spatial preference of visual stimuli and indicate cortical processing related to saccade generation and execution in FEF and LIP. Both areas appear to conduct this cortical processing largely independent of one another, though they have long been assumed to be working in concert. These results indicate a much more nuanced view of the functional interactions across the frontoparietal network.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Gerth, Rebeccarjg35@pitt.edurjg35
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairColby, Carolccolby@cnbc.cmu.educcolby
Committee MemberOlson,
Committee MemberBatista, Aaronapb10@pitt.eduapb10
Committee MemberSmith, Matthewmatt@smithlab.netsmithma
Committee MemberGandhi, Neerajneg8@pitt.eduneg8
Date: 18 June 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 28 March 2019
Approval Date: 18 June 2019
Submission Date: 4 April 2019
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 164
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Swanson School of Engineering > Bioengineering
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Frontoparietal, Frontal Eye Fields, Lateral Intraparietal Area, Coherence, Local Field Potentials
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2019 19:25
Last Modified: 18 Jun 2019 19:25


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