Rapid Adaptation in Visual Cortex to the Structure of Images

Science  27 Aug 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5432, pp. 1405-1408
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5432.1405

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Complex cells in striate cortex of macaque showed a rapid pattern-specific adaptation. Adaptation made cells more sensitive to orientation change near the adapting orientation. It reduced correlations among the responses of populations of cells, thereby increasing the information transmitted by each action potential. These changes were brought about by brief exposures to stationary patterns, on the time scale of a single fixation. Thus, if successive fixations expose neurons' receptive fields to images with similar but not identical structure, adaptation will remove correlations and improve discriminability.

  • * Present address: Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Neurobiology, Fairchild D209, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305–5125, USA.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: jim{at}

  • Present address: Psychobiology Laboratory, Division of Psychology, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia.

  • § Present address: Center for Neural Science, New York University, 4 Washington Place, Room 809, New York, NY 10003, USA.

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