Spiking Dynamics during Perceptual Grouping in the Laminar Circuits of Visual Cortex
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Grouping of collinear boundary contours is a fundamental process during visual perception. Illusory contour completion vividly illustrates how stable perceptual boundaries interpolate between pairs of contour inducers, but do not extrapolate from a single inducer. Neural models have simulated how perceptual grouping occurs in laminar visual cortical circuits. These models predicted the existence of grouping cells that obey a bipole property whereby grouping can occur inwardly between pairs or greater numbers of similarly oriented and co-axial inducers, but not outwardly from individual inducers. These models have not, however, incorporated spiking dynamics. Perceptual grouping is a challenge for spiking cells because its properties of collinear facilitation and analog sensitivity to inducer configurations occur despite irregularities in spike timing across all the interacting cells. Other models have demonstrated spiking dynamics in laminar neocortical circuits, but not how perceptual grouping occurs. The current model begins to unify these two modeling streams by implementing a laminar cortical network of spiking cells whose intracellular temporal dynamics interact with recurrent intercellular spiking interactions to quantitatively simulate data from neurophysiological experiments about perceptual grouping, the structure of non-classical visual receptive fields, and gamma oscillations.