Visual cortex can gives meaning to non-visual inputs
MIT news report a research at Picower Institute for Learning and Memory. Marshall G. Shule and Mark F. Bear found that neurons responses to light, nothing special here, but the paired it with the delivery of a drop of water. The neuronal activity changed. Moreover, the neuronal activity continued same if the light stimulation wasn't showed to the rat, as long as the water was delivered. They thought that's in link with the anticipation of rewards. This kind of association is usual in associative cortex but in the visual primary cortex it's the first time scientist found it. Their conclusion said "These neurons were not acting in response to what the stimuli were, but what they had come to mean". The visual cortex isn't just a detector but can process this information.