Using spikes and local field potentials to reveal computational networks in monkey cortex

Kristina J. Nielsen, Gregor Rainer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Introduction Traditionally, neurophysiological investigations in awake non-human primates have largely focused on the study of single-unit activity (SUA), recorded extracellularly in behaving animals using microelectrodes. The general aim of these studies has been to uncover the neural basis of cognition and action by elucidating the relation between brain activity and behavior. This is true for studies in sensory systems such as the visual system, where investigators are interested in how SUA covaries with aspects of visually presented stimuli, as well as for studies in the motor system where SUA covariation with movement targets and dynamics are investigated. In addition to these SUA studies, there has been increasing interest in the local field potential (LFP), a signal that reflects aggregate activity across populations of neurons near the tip of the microelectrode. In this chapter, we will describe recent progress in our understanding of brain function in awake behaving monkeys using LFP recordings. We will show that the combination of recording the activity of single neurons and local populations simultaneously offers a particularly promising way to gain insight into cortical brain mechanisms underlying cognition and memory. Measures of neural activity at the level of neurons and networks The activity of single neurons (SUA) is estimated by amplifying and collecting the comprehensive broadband electrical signal, which can be detected in the brain by using microelectrodes. This signal is digitized at rates of 20 kHz or higher, and high-pass filtering to remove its low-frequency components at a typical cut-off frequency of 300 Hz.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInformation Processing by Neuronal Populations
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780511541650
ISBN (Print)9780521873031
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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