Language Impairments in ASD Resulting from a Failed Domestication of the Human Brain
Local field potentials (LFPs) in cortex reflect synchronous fluctuations in the synaptic activity of local populations of neurons. The power of high frequency (>30 Hz) oscillations in LFPs is locked to the phase of low frequency (<30 Hz) oscillations, an effect known as phase-amplitude coupling (PAC). While PAC has been observed in a variety of cortical regions and animal models, its functional role particularly in primate visual cortex is largely unknown. Here, we document PAC for LFPs recorded from extra-striate area MT of macaque monkeys, an area specialized for the processing of visual motion. We further show that directing spatial attention into the receptive field of MT neurons decreases the coupling between the low frequency phase and high frequency power of LFPs. This attentional suppression of PAC increases neuronal discriminability for attended visual stimuli. Therefore, we hypothesize that visual cortex uses PAC to regulate inter-neuronal correlations and thereby enhances the coding of relevant stimuli.