Relationship between Size Summation Properties, Contrast Sensitivity and Response Latency in the Dorsomedial and Middle Temporal Areas of the Primate Extrastriate Cortex

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Abstract

Analysis of the physiological properties of single neurons in visual cortex has demonstrated that both the extent of their receptive fields and the latency of their responses depend on stimulus contrast. Here, we explore the question of whether there are also systematic relationships between these response properties across different cells in a neuronal population. Single unit recordings were obtained from the middle temporal (MT) and dorsomedial (DM) extrastriate areas of anaesthetized marmoset monkeys. For each cell, spatial integration properties (length and width summation, as well as the presence of end- and side-inhibition within 15° of the receptive field centre) were determined using gratings of optimal direction of motion and spatial and temporal frequencies, at 60% contrast. Following this, contrast sensitivity was assessed using gratings of near-optimal length and width. In both areas, we found a relationship between spatial integration and contrast sensitivity properties: cells that summated over smaller areas of the visual field, and cells that displayed response inhibition at larger stimulus sizes, tended to show higher contrast sensitivity. In a sample of MT neurons, we found that cells showing longer latency responses also tended to summate over larger expanses of visual space in comparison with neurons that had shorter latencies. In addition, longer-latency neurons also tended to show less obvious surround inhibition. Interestingly, all of these effects were stronger and more consistent with respect to the selectivity for stimulus width and strength of side-inhibition than for length selectivity and end-inhibition. The results are partially consistent with a hierarchical model whereby more extensive receptive fields require convergence of information from larger pools of "feedforward" afferent neurons to reach near-optimal responses. They also suggest that a common gain normalization mechanism within MT and DM is involved, the spatial extent of which is more evident along the cell's preferred axis of motion. © 2013 Lui et al.

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Lui, L. L., Bourne, J. A., & Rosa, M. G. P. (2013). Relationship between Size Summation Properties, Contrast Sensitivity and Response Latency in the Dorsomedial and Middle Temporal Areas of the Primate Extrastriate Cortex. PLoS ONE, 8(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0068276

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