Journal of Neurophysiology

Quantitative studies of single-cell properties in monkey striate cortex. I. Spatiotemporal organization of receptive fields

P. H. Schiller, B. L. Finlay, S. F. Volman


1. The properties of single cells in striate cortex of the rhesus monkey, representing the visual field 2 degrees -5 degrees from the fovea, were examined quantitatively with stationary and moving stimuli. Three distinct classes of cells were identified: S type, CX type, and T type. 2. S-type cells were defined as those oriented cells which to the optimal direction of movement in their receptive fields exhibited one or more spatially separate subfields within each of which a response was obtained to either a light or dark edge, but not to both. Several different types of S-cells were distinguished: a) S1-type cells for which moving edges revealed a single excitatory area within which a response was elicited by either a light or a dark edge but not by both. Most of these cells were unidirectional. b) S2-type cells for which moving edges revealed two spatially separate response areas, one of which was excited by a light edge and the other by a dark edge. Both regions responded to the same direction of movement. c) S3-type cells which had two response areas, one of which was excited by a stimulus moving in one direction (at right angles to the axis of orientation) and the other, of opposite contrast, which responded in the opposite direction, d) S4-type cells which to one direction of movement showed two spatially separate regions sensitive to a light and dark edge and which in the other direction of movement had only one responsive area (either light or dark). e) Cells which had multiple spatially separate subfields (S5-7 types). 3. CX-type cells were defined as those oriented cells which in their receptive fields exhibited no spatial separation for light- and dark-edge responses; they discharged to both edges in the same direction of movement and in the same spatial area. Flashing stimuli elicited both on and off responses throughout the receptive field. CX-type cells were predominantly of two types: those which were selective for direction of stimulus movement and those which were not. 4. A third class of cells (T-type) were those which were excited by only one sign of contrast change and responded in a sustained fashion even when there was no contour within the receptive field. These cells were poorly or not at all oriented; some of them were selective to wavelength. 5. Quantitative comparisons showed the following differences between S-type and CX-type cells: a) S-type cells had smaller receptive fields than CX-type cells but the populations over-lapped considerably. Receptive-field size was smallest in layer 4c. In all other layers S-type cells had the same size fields. CX-type cells, by contrast, tended to have larger fields in layer 5-6 than 2-3. b) The spatial separation between light and dark response areas was the best criterion for distinguishing S-type and CX-type cells. The distribution of this measure disclosed two populations of cells with relatively limited overlap. c) In layers 2 and 3, both S-type and CX-type cells had low spontaneous activity…