A substantial portion of our sensory experience happens during active behaviors such as walking around or paying attention. How do sensory systems work during such behaviors? Neural processing in sensory systems can be shaped by behavior in multiple ways ranging from a modulation of responsiveness or sharpening of tuning to a dynamic change of response properties or functional connectivity. Here, we review recent findings on the modulation of sensory processing during active behaviors in different systems: insect vision, rodent thalamus, and rodent sensory cortices. We discuss the circuit-level mechanisms that might lead to these modulations and their potential role in sensory function. Finally, we highlight the open questions and future perspectives of this exciting new field.
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