State dependence of noise correlations in macaque primary visual cortex

Alexander S. Ecker*, Philipp Berens, R. James Cotton, Manivannan Subramaniyan, George H. Denfield, Cathryn R. Cadwell, Stelios M. Smirnakis, Matthias Bethge, Andreas S. Tolias

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

211 Scopus citations


Shared, trial-to-trial variability in neuronal populations has a strong impact on the accuracy of information processing in the brain. Estimates of the level of such noise correlations are diverse, ranging from 0.01 to 0.4, with little consensus on which factors account for these differences. Here we addressed one important factor that varied across studies, asking how anesthesia affects the population activity structure in macaque primary visual cortex. We found that under opioid anesthesia, activity was dominated by strong coordinated fluctuations on a timescale of 1-2 Hz, which were mostly absent in awake, fixating monkeys. Accounting for these global fluctuations markedly reduced correlations under anesthesia, matching those observed during wakefulness and reconciling earlier studies conducted under anesthesia and in awake animals. Our results show that internal signals, such as brain state transitions under anesthesia, can induce noise correlations but can also be estimated and accounted for based on neuronal population activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-248
Number of pages14
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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