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Journal Article

Neuronal responses from beyond the classic receptive field in V1 of alert monkeys


Wehrhahn,  C
Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Li, W., Thier, P., & Wehrhahn, C. (2001). Neuronal responses from beyond the classic receptive field in V1 of alert monkeys. Experimental Brain Research, 139(3), 359-371. doi:10.1007/s002210100757.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-E21E-8
Responses of primary visual cortex (V1) neurons to stimuli inside the classic receptive field (CRF) can be modulated by stimuli outside the CRF. We recently reported that responses of most V1 neurons to a line in the CRF center are inhibited by large surround-stimuli and that this modulation is stimulus selective. Here we report that a significant proportion of V1 neurons in alert monkeys respond directly to stimuli outside the CRF with very long latency and much reduced selectivity. When surround stimuli are presented alone, three response patterns can be distinguished in 153 single- or multiunits tested: (1) 31.4 have no significant response; (2) 50.3 show excitatory responses that are significantly higher than spontaneous activity. The average latency of these responses is about 145 ms, 2–3 times longer than center responses; (3) 18.3 show suppressed spontaneous activity after stimulus onset. The direct surround responses are found to be only weakly selective for the orientation of contextual lines, and not selective for other contextual patterns tested. While the outburst of responses to stimuli within the CRF is not affected by reducing stimulus duration from 500 ms to 50 ms, late excitatory surround responses are virtually eliminated. We propose that the late excitatory surround responses to extra-CRF stimulation alone are the reflection of feedback from higher cortical areas and may contribute to reduced contextual inhibition of cells in V1. This could play a role in figure-ground segregation.