Cats were reared from birth to at least 12 months of age in a visually static environment (illuminated 40/min by a 3 μsec strobe flash). Single unit recordings from these animals revealed abnormalities in spatial and directional properties of cortical neurons. In an attempt to find psychophysical correlates of these neural deficits, spatial contrast sensitivity and motion detection thresholds were measured behaviorally. Both spatial vision and motion detection were greatly impaired. While spatial deficits failed to recover, motion thresholds improved greatly following extended training. These improvements in behavioral motion response were accompanied by the recovery of cortical directional selectivity. The recovery of motion thresholds and directional selectivity was direction specific: the distribution of the preferred directions of cortical neurons and motion thresholds were sharply biased towards the direction first seen in training. Thus, directional mechanisms of adult motion deprived cats may be modified if following deprivation the animals are trained to detect moving stimuli.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)