Receptive field organization of complex cells in the cat's striate cortex

J. Anthony Movshon, I. D. Thompson, D. J. Tolhurst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

All complex cells in the cat's striate cortex exhibit gross non-linearities of spatial summation when tested with sinusoidal grating stimuli. Their responses to moving gratings of all but the lowest spatial frequencies are usually dominated by a component that is not modulated by the passage of the bars of the grating across the receptive field. They give responses to temporally modulated stationary gratings that consist mostly of even harmonics of the stimulus frequency and that vary little in amplitude or wave form as the spatial phase of the grating is varied. We compared complex cells' receptive fields with their sensitivity to sinusoidal gratings of different spatial frequencies. Qualitatively, the receptive fields are usually two to five times wider than the bars of the gratings that stimulate them most effectively. Quantitatively, the receptive field profiles of complex cells are invariably broader than those predicted by Fourier synthesis of their spatial frequency tuning curves, and in particular lack predicted spatially antagonistic regions. We further examined the receptive field organization of these cells, using pairs of stationary lines flashed synchronously on their receptive fields. If both lines are of the same polarity (bright or dark), complex cells respond to the paired stimulus much less well than they do to either of its component bars, unless the bars are separated by less than about one quarter of the width of the receptive field. If the lines are of opposite polarity, one bright and one dark, the opposite situation obtains: closely spaced bars elicit small responses, while paired bars of larger separation are much more effective. In either case, the results are independent in general character of the absolute positions of the stimuli within the receptive field; rather, they depend in a manner characteristic of each cell on the relative positions of the two bars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-99
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Physiology
VolumeVol. 283
StatePublished - 1978

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Visual Cortex
Cats

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  • Physiology

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Receptive field organization of complex cells in the cat's striate cortex. / Movshon, J. Anthony; Thompson, I. D.; Tolhurst, D. J.

In: Journal of Physiology, Vol. Vol. 283, 1978, p. 79-99.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Movshon, J. Anthony ; Thompson, I. D. ; Tolhurst, D. J. / Receptive field organization of complex cells in the cat's striate cortex. In: Journal of Physiology. 1978 ; Vol. Vol. 283. pp. 79-99.
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