Adaptation of Ocular Opponency Neurons Mediates Attention-Induced Ocular Dominance Plasticity

 Fangxing Song1,2 · Lili Lyu3  · Min Bao1,2
1 CAS Key Laboratory of Behavioral Science, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China 
2 Department of Psychology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China 
3 Institute of Neuroscience, Key Laboratory of Primate Neurobiology, CAS Center for Excellence in Brain Science and Intelligence Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200031, China

Previous research has shown that ocular dominance can be biased by prolonged attention to one eye. The ocular-opponency-neuron model of binocular rivalry has been proposed as a candidate account for this phenomenon. Yet direct neural evidence is still lacking. By manipulating the contrast of dichoptic testing gratings, here we measured the steady-state visually evoked potentials (SSVEPs) at the intermodulation frequencies to selectively track the activities of ocular-opponency-neurons before and after the “dichoptic-backward-movie” adaptation. One hour of adaptation caused a shift of perceptual and neural ocular dominance towards the unattended eye. More importantly, we found a decrease in the intermodulation SSVEP response after adaptation, which was significantly greater when high-contrast gratings were presented to the attended eye than when they were presented to the unattended eye. These results strongly support the view that the adaptation of ocular-opponency-neurons contributes to the ocular dominance plasticity induced by prolonged eye-based attention.

Attention; Ocular dominance; Opponency neuron; Adaptation; Steady-state visually evoked potential