Capabilities of monkey cortical cells in spatial-resolution tasks

Andrew Parker, Mike Hawken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The performance of individual neurons in monkey striate cortex has been examined in three spatial-resolution tasks by making microelectrode recordings from single cells in anaesthetized, paralyzed animals. The statistical reliability of responses from cells was used to estimate threshold levels of performance. For each task (resolution acuity for high-contrast gratings, discrimination of gratings varying in spatial frequency, and localization ability, i.e., discrimination of spatial phase), performance approaching psychophysical thresholds was obtained from single cortical cells. The receptive-field organization underlying localization performance was examined in detail by the use of a linear model that relates localization ability to the sensitivity of the receptive field to luminance contrast. Calculations from this model agree well with direct measurements of localization performance and are comparable with psychophysical measurements of hyperacuity. Though it has been suggested that cells with nonoriented receptive fields in cortical layer ivcβ may be responsible for recovering fine-grain spatial information, our calculations indicate that these cells are poorer at localization than many other cells in the cortex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1101-1114
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the Optical Society of America A: Optics and Image Science, and Vision
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition


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