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Keywords:

  • visual cortex;
  • parallel visual pathways;
  • stimulus selectivity;
  • cross-correlation analysis;
  • macaque monkey

Abstract

To test the possibility of cross-talk between parallel pathways dealing with different aspects of visual information, such as orientation, direction of motion and colour in cortical area V2, we quantitatively analysed visual responses of 121 V2 cells recorded from anaesthetized and paralysed macaques and compared them with those of 147 V1 cells. A selectivity index of visual responses was calculated for each neuron, which was then classified as selective or not to a particular attribute of visual stimuli. Twenty-one percent of the V2 neurons had dual selectivity to both colour and direction of stimulus motion (C&D cells). In V1, only 5% of the cells were C&D cells. Thus, the proportion of C&D cells significantly increased from V1 to V2. We also carried out cross-correlation analysis of spike trains recorded simultaneously from pairs of V2 neurons or pairs of V1 neurons. In V2, correlated firings could be observed between cells with completely different optimal orientation, such as orthogonal, while it was never observed in V1. The cross-correlation analysis further indicated that functional interactions in V2 were more widespread than those in V1. These results suggest that neurons which have different functional properties become less segregated, and that functional interactions become more widespread in V2 than in V1.