The use of m-sequences in the analysis of visual neurons: Linear receptive field properties

R. Clay Reid, J. D. Victor, R. M. Shapley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have used Sutter's (1987) spatiotemporal m-sequence method to map the receptive fields of neurons in the visual system of the cat. The stimulus consisted of a grid of 16 X 16 square regions, each of which was modulated in time by a pseudorandom binary signal, known as an m-sequence. Several strategies for displaying the m-sequence stimulus are presented. The results of the method are illustrated with two examples. For both geniculate neurons and cortical simple cells, the measurement of first-order response properties with the m-sequence method provided a detailed characterization of classical receptive-field structures. First, we measured a spatiotemporal map of both the center and surround of a Y-cell in the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN). The time courses of the center responses was biphasic: OFF at short latencies, ON at longer latencies. The surround was also biphasic-ON then OFF-but somewhat slower. Second, we mapped the response properties of an area 17 directional simple cell. The response dynamics of the ON and OFF subregions varied considerably; the time to peak ranged over more than a factor of two. This spatiotemporal inseparability is related to the cell's directional selectivity (Reid et al. 1987, 1991; McLean and Palmer, 1989; McLean et al., 1994). The detail with which the time course of response can be measured at many different positions is one of the strengths of the m-sequence method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1015-1027
Number of pages13
JournalVisual neuroscience
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1997


  • Cat
  • Lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN)
  • Reverse correlation
  • Simple cell
  • Visual cortex
  • White noise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Sensory Systems


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