Laminar differences in responses to naturalistic texture in macaque V1 and V2

Corey M. Ziemba, Richard K. Perez, Julia Pai, Jenna G. Kelly, Luke E. Hallum, Christopher Shooner, J. Anthony Movshon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Most single units recorded from macaque secondary visual cortex (V2) respond with higher firing rates to synthetic texture images containing "naturalistic" higher-order statistics than to spectrally matched "noise" images lacking these statistics. In contrast, few single units in V1 show this property. We explored how the strength and dynamics of response vary across the different layers of visual cortex by recording multiunit (defined as high-frequency power in the local field potential) and gamma-band activity evoked by brief presentations of naturalistic and noise images in V1 and V2 of anesthetized macaque monkeys of both sexes. As previously reported, recordings in V2 showed consistently stronger responses to naturalistic texture than to spectrally matched noise. In contrast to single-unit recordings, V1 multiunit activity showed a preference for images with naturalistic statistics, and in gamma-band activity this preference was comparable across V1 and V2. Sensitivity to naturalistic image structure was strongest in the supragranular and infragranular layers of V1, but weak in granular layers, suggesting that it might reflect feedback from V2. Response timing was consistent with this idea. Visual responses appeared first in V1, followed by V2. Sensitivity to naturalistic texture emerged first in V2, followed by the supragranular and infragranular layers of V1, and finally in the granular layers of V1. Our results demonstrate laminar differences in the encoding of higher-order statistics of natural texture, and suggest that this sensitivity first arises in V2 and is fed back to modulate activity in V1. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT The circuit mechanisms responsible for visual representations of intermediate complexity are largely unknown. We used a well validated set of synthetic texture stimuli to probe the temporal and laminar profile of sensitivity to the higher-order statistical structure of natural images. We found that this sensitivity emerges first and most strongly in V2 but soon after in V1. However, sensitivity in V1 is higher in the laminae (extragranular) and recording modalities (local field potential) most likely affected by V2 connections, suggesting a feedback origin. Our results show how sensitivity to naturalistic image structure emerges across time and circuitry in the early visual cortex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9748-9756
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number49
StatePublished - Dec 4 2019


  • Cortical layers
  • Macaque
  • Texture
  • V1
  • V2
  • Gamma Rhythm
  • Macaca nemestrina
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Male
  • Reaction Time
  • Electroencephalography
  • Visual Cortex/anatomy & histology
  • Electrophysiological Phenomena/physiology
  • Visual Pathways/physiology
  • Animals
  • Visual Fields
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual/physiology
  • Female
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual/physiology
  • Photic Stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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