Recordings from monkey primary visual cortex (V1) were used to test a model for the visually driven responses of simple cells. According to the model, simple cells compute a linear sum of the responses of lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) neurons. In addition, each simple cell's linear response is divided by the pooled activity of a large number of other simple cells. The cell membrane performs both operations; synaptic currents are summed and then divided by the total membrane conductance. Current and conductance are decoupled (by a complementary arrangement of excitation and inhibition) so that current depends only on the LGN inputs and conductance depends only on the cortical inputs. Closed form expressions were derived for fitting and interpreting physiological data. The model accurately predicted responses to drifting grating stimuli of various contrasts, orientations, and spatiotemporal frequencies.
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