Cristian Joana, Hiroshi Tamura, Ichiro Fujita, Junji Ito, Pedro Maldonado, Sonja Grün, Yukako Yamane
In natural vision, neuronal responses to visual stimuli occur due to self-initiated eye movements. Here, we compare single-unit activity in the primary visual cortex (V1) of non-human primates to flashed natural scenes (passive vision condition) to when they freely explore the images by self-initiated eye movements (active vision condition). Active vision enhances the number of neurons responding, and the response latencies become shorter and less variable across neurons. The increased responsiveness and shortened latency during active vision were not explained by increased visual contrast. While the neuronal activities in all layers of V1 show enhanced responsiveness and shortened latency, a significant increase in lifetime sparseness during active vision is observed only in the supragranular layer. These findings demonstrate that the neuronal responses become more distinct in active vision than passive vision, interpreted as consequences of top-down predictive mechanisms.