Dynamics of cortical contrast adaptation predict perception of signals in noise

Nature Communications(2023)

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Neurons throughout the sensory pathway adapt their responses depending on the statistical structure of the sensory environment. Contrast gain control is a form of adaptation in the auditory cortex, but it is unclear whether the dynamics of gain control reflect efficient adaptation, and whether they shape behavioral perception. Here, we trained mice to detect a target presented in background noise shortly after a change in the contrast of the background. The observed changes in cortical gain and behavioral detection followed the dynamics of a normative model of efficient contrast gain control; specifically, target detection and sensitivity improved slowly in low contrast, but degraded rapidly in high contrast. Auditory cortex was required for this task, and cortical responses were not only similarly affected by contrast but predicted variability in behavioral performance. Combined, our results demonstrate that dynamic gain adaptation supports efficient coding in auditory cortex and predicts the perception of sounds in noise.
Computational neuroscience,Cortex,Science,Humanities and Social Sciences,multidisciplinary
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