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Sheridan Goldstein, Lupeng Wang, Kerry McAlonan, Mateus Torres-Cruz, Richard J. Krauzlis; Stimulus-driven visual attention in mice. Journal of Vision 2022;22(1):11. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.22.1.11.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
In primates, stimulus-driven changes in visual attention can facilitate or hinder perceptual performance, depending on the location and timing of the stimulus event. Mice have emerged as a powerful model for studying visual circuits and behavior; however, it is unclear whether mice show similar interactions between stimulus events and visual attention during perceptual decisions. To investigate this, we trained head-fixed mice to detect a near-threshold change in visual orientation and tested how performance was altered by task-irrelevant stimuli that occurred at different times and locations with respect to the orientation change. We found that task-irrelevant stimuli strongly affected mouse performance. Specifically, stimulus-driven attention in mice followed a similar time course as that in other species: The decreases in reaction times fully emerged between 250 and 400 ms after the stimulus event, and detection accuracy was not affected. However, the effects of stimulus-driven attention on behavior in mice were insensitive to stimulus-event location, an aspect different from what is known in primates. In contrast, reaction times in mice were reduced at longer delays after the task-irrelevant stimulus event regardless of its spatial congruence to the target. These results highlight the strengths and limitations of using mice as a model for studying higher-order visual functions.
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