Chromatic properties of neurons in macaque MT

Karl R. Gegenfurtner, Daniel C. Kiper, Jack M.H. Beusmans, Matteo Carandini, J. Anthony Movshon, Qasim Zaidi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have studied the responses of MT neurons to moving gratings, spatially modulated in luminance and chromaticity. Most MT neurons responded briskly and with high contrast sensitivity to targets whose luminance was modulated, with or without added chromatic contrast. When luminance modulation was removed and only chromatic stimulation was used, the responses of all MT neurons were attenuated. Most were completely unresponsive to stimulation with targets whose modulation fell within a “null” plane in color space; these null planes varied from neuron to neuron, but all lay close to the plane of constant photometric luminance. For about a third of the neurons, there was no color direction in which responses were completely abolished; almost all of these neurons had a definite minimum response for chromatic modulation near the isoluminant plane. MT neurons that responded to isoluminant targets did so inconsistently and with poor contrast sensitivity, so that only intensely modulated targets were effective. Whereas the best thresholds of MT neurons for luminance targets are close to behavioral contrast threshold the thresholds for isoluminant targets lie considerably above behavioral contrast threshold. Therefore, although some MT neurons do give responses to isoluminant targets, they are unlikely to be the source of the chromatic motion signals revealed behaviorally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)455-466
Number of pages12
JournalVisual neuroscience
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 1994


  • Color
  • Isoluminance
  • MT
  • Macaque
  • Motion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Sensory Systems


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