On the variety of spatial frequency selectivities shown by neurons in area 17 of the cat

  • Tolhurst D
  • Thompson I
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The amplitudes of the responses of over 300 neurons in area 17 of the cat were examined as a function of the spatial frequency of moving sinusoidal gratings. The optimal spatial frequency and the bandwidth of the tuning curves were determined. The bandwidth varied considerably from neuron to neuron. Neurons optimally responsive to high spatial frequencies tended to have narrower tuning curves than those responsive to lower frequencies. Neurons with narrow spatial frequency tuning curves also tended to have narrow orientation tuning curves. These observations suggest that linear spatial summation tends to occur over a relatively constant area of visual field despite marked differences in each neuron's optimal spatial frequency, a prediction of one model of visual analysis. There was little difference in either the optimal spatial frequencies or the bandwidths of tuning for different functional classes of neuron. Neurons with broad tuning curves tended to be restricted to lamina IV and its environs, being concentrated in the deep part of lamina II-III and the upper part of lamina IV ab. Neurons with very low optimal spatial frequencies were uncommon and tended to be found either at the border of laminae II-III and IV or in lamina V. These laminar distributions are discussed with respect to the laminar differences in the projection of l.g.m. X- and Y-cells to the visual cortex.

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