The orientation selectivity of color-responsive neurons in macaque V1

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Form has a strong influence on color perception. We investigated the neural basis of the form- color link in macaque primary visual cortex (V1) by studying orientation selectivity of single V1 cells for pure color patterns. Neurons that responded to color were classified, based on cone inputs and spatial selectivity, into chromatically single-opponent and double-opponent groups. Single-opponent cells responded well to color but weakly to luminance contrast; they were not orientation selective for color patterns. Most double-opponent cells were orientation selective to pure color stimuli as well as to achromatic patterns. We also found non-opponent cells that responded weakly or not at all to pure color; most were orientation selective for luminance patterns. Double-opponent and non-opponent cells' orientation selectivities were not contrast invariant; selectivity usually increased with contrast. Double-opponent cells were approximately equally orientation selective for luminance and equiluminant color stimuli when stimuli were matched in average cone contrast. V1 double-opponent cells could be the neural basis of the influence of form on color perception. The combined activities of single- and double-opponent cells in V1 are needed for the full repertoire of color perception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8096-8106
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number32
StatePublished - Aug 6 2008


  • Color vision
  • Contrast
  • Double-opponent
  • Single-opponent
  • Spatial vision
  • Visual cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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