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Spatial and temporal frequency tuning in striate cortex: functional uniformity and specializations related to receptive field eccentricity


Dr H.-H. Yu, as above.


In light of anatomical evidence suggesting differential connection patterns in central vs. peripheral representations of cortical areas, we investigated the extent to which the response properties of cells in the primary visual area (V1) of the marmoset change as a function of eccentricity. Responses to combinations of the spatial and temporal frequencies of visual stimuli were quantified for neurons with receptive fields ranging from 3° to 70° eccentricity. Optimal spatial frequencies and stimulus speeds reflected the expectation that the responses of cells throughout V1 are essentially uniform, once scaled according to the cortical magnification factor. In addition, temporal frequency tuning was similar throughout V1. However, spatial frequency tuning curves depended both on the cell’s optimal spatial frequency and on the receptive field eccentricity: cells with peripheral receptive fields showed narrower bandwidths than cells with central receptive fields that were sensitive to the same optimal spatial frequency. Although most V1 cells had separable spatial and temporal frequency tuning, the proportion of neurons displaying significant spatiotemporal interactions increased in the representation of far peripheral vision (> 50°). In addition, of the fewer than 5% of V1 cells that showed robust (spatial frequency independent) selectivity to stimulus speed, most were concentrated in the representation of the far periphery. Spatiotemporal interactions in the responses of many cells in the peripheral representation of V1 reduced the ambiguity of responses to high-speed (> 30°/s) signals. These results support the notion of a relative specialization for motion processing in the far peripheral representations of cortical areas, including V1.