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Uniformity and diversity of response properties of neurons in the primary visual cortex: Selectivity for orientation, direction of motion, and stimulus size from center to far periphery

  • HSIN-HAO YU (a1) and MARCELLO G.P. ROSA (a1) (a2)

Although the primary visual cortex (V1) is one of the most extensively studied areas of the primate brain, very little is known about how the far periphery of visual space is represented in this area. We characterized the physiological response properties of V1 neurons in anaesthetized marmoset monkeys, using high-contrast drifting gratings. Comparisons were made between cells with receptive fields located in three regions of V1, defined by eccentricity: central (3–5°), near peripheral (5–15°), and far peripheral (>50°). We found that orientation selectivity of individual cells was similar from the center to the far periphery. Nonetheless, the proportion of orientation-selective neurons was higher in central visual field representation than in the peripheral representations. In addition, there were similar proportions of cells representing all orientations, with the exception of the representation of the far periphery, where we detected a bias favoring near-horizontal orientations. The proportions of direction-selective cells were similar throughout V1. When the center/surround organization of the receptive fields was tested with gratings with varying diameters, we found that the population of neurons that was suppressed by large gratings was smaller in the far periphery, although the strength of suppression in these cells tended to be stronger. In addition, the ratio between the diameters of the excitatory centers and suppressive surrounds was similar across the entire visual field. These results suggest that, superimposed on the broad uniformity of V1, there are subtle physiological differences, which indicate that spatial information is processed differently in the central versus far peripheral visual fields.

Corresponding author
*Address correspondence to: Hsin-Hao Yu, Department of Physiology, Monash University, Clayton, VIC 3800, Australia. E-mail:
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