Signal in macaque striate cortical neurons that support the perception of glass patterns

Matthew A. Smith, Wyeth Bair, J. Anthony Movshon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Glass patterns are texture stimuli made by pairing randomly placed dots with partners at specific offsets. The strong percept of global form that arises from the sparse local orientation cues has made these patterns the subject of psychophysical investigations, yet neuronal responses to Glass patterns have not been studied. We measured the responses of neurons in macaque striate cortex (V1) to dynamic, translational Glass patterns as a function of dot separation and dot-pair orientation. Responses were selective, but were on average more than an order of magnitude weaker than responses to sinusoidal gratings. Response and selectivity were greatest when the dot-pair orientation matched that of the preferred grating and when dot separation was between one-quarter and one-half of the spatial period of the optimal grating; changing the dot-pair separation or inverting the contrast of one of the dots radically changed the orientation selectivity. We computed the expected responses for a receptive field model to translational Glass patterns and found that the complexity of our V1 tuning curves could be understood in terms of the responses of linear filters to pairs of dots. This modeling connects our understanding of V1 receptive fields as rectified, quasi-linear filters with results from psychophysical studies of Glass patterns. Our results provide a basis for studying how subsequent visual areas integrate weak, local signals into global form percepts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8334-8345
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 15 2002


  • Glass patterns
  • Linear filter
  • Macaque monkey
  • Orientation selectivity
  • Primary visual cortex
  • Random dots
  • Spatial frequency
  • V1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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