Circuit-motivated generalized affine models characterize stimulus-dependent visual cortical shared variability


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Correlated variability in the visual cortex is modulated by stimulus properties. The stimulus dependence of correlated variability impacts stimulus coding and is indicative of circuit structure. An affine model combining a factor proportional to mean stimulus response and an additive offset has been proposed to explain how correlated variability in primary visual cortex (V1) depends on stimulus orientations. However, whether the affine model could be extended to explain modulations by other stimulus variables or variability shared between two brain areas is unknown. Motivated by a simple neural circuit mechanism, we modified the affine model to better explain the contrast-dependence of neural variability shared within either primary or secondary visual cortex (V1 or V2) as well as the orientation-dependence of neural variability shared between V1 and V2. Our results bridge neural circuit mechanisms and statistical models, and provide a parsimonious explanation for the stimulus-dependence of correlated variability within and between visual areas. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.
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