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Shape and Spatial Distribution of Receptive Fields and Antagonistic Motion Surrounds in the Middle Temporal Area (V5) of the Macaque


Correspondence to: Prof. G. A. Orban


The spatial organization of receptive fields in the middle temporal (MT) area of anaesthetized and paralysed macaque monkeys was studied. In all, 288 neurons were successfully recorded. The size and shape of the receptive field (RF) was mapped with small patches of translating random dots and the resulting data were fitted with a generalized Gaussian. Results show that the RF area increases with eccentricity, and is larger in lamina 5 than in other layers. Most of these RFs are elongated, and the axis of elongation tends to be orthogonal to the preferred direction of motion. The direction selectivity is maintained in all positions in the RF, but layer 5 cells are less direction-selective than cells in other layers. In a second series of experiments, radial dimensions of the classical RF and the antagonistic surround were estimated from area summation tests. These data were fitted with the difference of the integrals of two Gaussians. Surrounds were weakest in layer 4 and strongest in layer 2. Optimal stimulus diameters, also estimated from the area summation curve, were larger in the infragranular layers than in the other layers. The maximum sensitivity of the surround was clearly displaced from the classical RF (CRF) centre, indicating that the surround is not concentric with the CRF. This radial offset and the extent of the surround were largest in layers 2 and 5 and smallest in 3a. The extent of the surround half-height equalled, on average, 3–4 times that of the CRF. These results suggest that antagonistic surrounds are constructed in MT, probably through horizontal connections, and that a strong vertical organization exists in area MT, as has been shown for V1.