Cone inputs in macaque primary visual cortex

Elizabeth N. Johnson, Michael J. Hawken, Robert Shapley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To understand the role of primary visual cortex (V1) in color vision, we measured directly the input from the 3 cone types in macaque V1 neurons. Cells were classified as luminance-preferring, color-luminance, or color-preferring from the ratio of the peak amplitudes of spatial frequency responses to red/green equiluminant and to black/white (luminance) grating patterns, respectively. In this study we used L-, M-, and S-cone-isolating gratings to measure spatial frequency response functions for each cone type separately. From peak responses to cone-isolating stimuli we estimated relative cone weights and whether cone inputs were the same or opposite sign. For most V1 cells the relative S-cone weight was <0.1. All color-preferring cells were cone opponent and their L/M cone weight ratio was clustered around a value of -1, which is roughly equal and opposite L and M cone signals. Almost all cells (88%) classified as luminance cells were cone nonopponent, with a broad distribution of cone weights. Most cells (73%) classified as color-luminance cells were cone opponent. This result supports our conclusion that V1 color-luminance cells are double-opponent. Such neurons are more sensitive to color boundaries than to areas of color and thereby could play an important role in color perception. The color-luminance population had a broad distribution of L/M cone weight ratios, implying a broad distribution of preferred colors for the double-opponent cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2501-2514
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Physiology


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