Microsaccades are very small eye movements during fixation. Experimentally, they have been found to play an important role in visual information processing. However, neural responses induced by microsaccades are not yet well understood and are rarely studied theoretically. Here we propose a network model with a cascading adaptation including both retinal adaptation and short-term depression (STD) at thalamocortical synapses. In the neural network model, we compare the microsaccade-induced neural responses in the presence of STD and those without STD. It is found that the cascading with STD can give rise to faster and sharper responses to microsaccades. Moreover, STD can enhance response effectiveness and sensitivity to microsaccadic spatiotemporal changes, suggesting improved detection of small eye movements (or moving visual objects). We also explore the mechanism of the response properties in the model. Our studies strongly indicate that STD plays an important role in neural responses to microsaccades. Our model considers simultaneously retinal adaptation and STD at thalamocortical synapses in the study of microsaccade-induced neural activity, and may be useful for further investigation of the functional roles of microsaccades in visual information processing.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
- Statistics and Probability
- Condensed Matter Physics