Abolition of visual cortical direction selectivity affects visual behavior in cats

T. Pasternak, R. A. Schumer, M. S. Gizzi, J. A. Movshon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We reared cats in an environment illuminated stroboscopically at 8 Hz, and studied their ability to detect and discriminate the direction of motion of sinusoidal gratings. Normal cats, like humans, could discriminate the direction of a grating's motion at contrasts that are just barely visible. Strobe-reared cats could detect the grating at contrasts similar to those required by normal cats, but required contrasts that were about 10 times threshold to identify the direction of motion. We subsequently studied the activity of single units in the striate cortex in these cats, and found that directional motion selectivity - normally a prominant feature of striate cortical neurons - was almost absent; other cortical receptive field properties were roughly normal. These results suggest that directionally selective neurons are involved in visual discriminations based on the direction of motion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-217
Number of pages4
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1985


  • Behavior
  • Directionally selective neurons
  • Motion sensitivity
  • Strobe-reared cats
  • Visual cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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