Spatio-temporal interactions and the spatial phase preferences of visual neurons

J. B. Levitt, R. M. Sanchez, E. L. Smith, J. A. Movshon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We recorded single neuron responses in the cat's lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) and visual cortex to compound stimuli composed of two sinusoidal gratings in a 2:1 frequency ratio. To probe visual receptive field symmetry, we varied the relative spatial phase of the two components and measured the effect on neuronal responses. We expected that on-center LGN neurons would respond best to gratings combined in positive cosine (bright bar) phase, while off-center LGN neurons would respond best to gratings combined in negative cosine (dark bar) phase. When drifting stimuli were used, cells' phase preferences were roughly 90 deg away from the expected values; when stationary, contrast-modulated stimuli were used, phase preferences were as originally predicted. Computer simulations showed that this discrepancy could be explained by taking into account the cells' temporal properties. Thus, tests using drifting stimuli confound the spatial structure of visual neural receptive fields with their temporal response characteristics. A small sample of data from cortical neurons reveals the same confound.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-445
Number of pages5
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Volume80
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1990

Keywords

  • Cat
  • Lateral geniculate nucleus
  • Receptive field
  • Spatial phase
  • Visual cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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