Dynamics and Constancy in Cortical Spatiotemporal Patterns of Orientation Processing

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Science  18 Jan 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5554, pp. 512-515
DOI: 10.1126/science.1065916

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How does the high selectivity to stimulus orientation emerge in the visual cortex? Thalamic feedforward-dominated models of orientation selectivity predict constant selectivity during the visual response, whereas intracortical recurrent models predict dynamic improvement in selectivity. We imaged the cat visual cortex with voltage-sensitive dyes to measure orientation-tuning dynamics of a large neuronal population. Tuning-curve width did not narrow after response onset, whereas the difference between preferred and orthogonal responses (modulation depth) first increased, then declined. We identified a suppression of the evoked responses, referred to as the evoked deceleration-acceleration (DA) notch, which was larger for the orthogonal response. Furthermore, peak selectivity of the tuning curves was contemporaneous with the evoked DA notch. These findings suggest that in the cat brain, sustained visual cortical processing does not narrow orientation tuning; rather, intracortical interactions may amplify modulation depth and suppress the orthogonal response relatively more than the preferred. Thus, feedforward models and recurrent models of orientation selectivity must be combined.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: dahlia.sharon{at}

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