Spatial and temporal frequency tuning in striate cortex: functional uniformity and specializations related to receptive field eccentricity.
ABSTRACT 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 degrees to 70 degrees 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 degrees). 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 degrees/s) signals. These results support the notion of a relative specialization for motion processing in the far peripheral representations of cortical areas, including V1.
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ABSTRACT: Humans are diurnal primates with high visual acuity at the center of gaze. Although primates share many similarities in the organization of their visual centers with other mammals, and even other species of vertebrates, their visual pathways also show unique features, particularly with respect to the organization of the cerebral cortex. Therefore, in order to understand some aspects of human visual function, we need to study non-human primate brains. Which species is the most appropriate model? Macaque monkeys, the most widely used non-human primates, are not an optimal choice in many practical respects. For example, much of the macaque cerebral cortex is buried within sulci, and is therefore inaccessible to many imaging techniques, and the postnatal development and lifespan of macaques are prohibitively long for many studies of brain maturation, plasticity, and aging. In these and several other respects the marmoset, a small New World monkey, represents a more appropriate choice. Here we review the visual pathways of the marmoset, highlighting recent work that brings these advantages into focus, and identify where additional work needs to be done to link marmoset brain organization to that of macaques and humans. We will argue that the marmoset monkey provides a good subject for studies of a complex visual system, which will likely allow an important bridge linking experiments in animal models to humans.Frontiers in Neural Circuits 08/2014; 8:96. · 2.95 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: How the visual field is represented by neurons in the cerebral cortex is one of the most basic questions in visual neuroscience. However, research to date has focused heavily on the small part of the visual field within, and immediately surrounding the fovea. Studies on the cortical representation of the full visual field in the primate brain are still scarce. We have been investigating this issue with electrophysiological and anatomical methods, taking advantage of the small and lissencephalic marmoset brain, which allows easy access to the representation of the full visual field in many cortical areas. This review summarizes our main findings to date, and relates the results to a broader question: is the peripheral visual field processed in a similar manner to the central visual field, but with lower spatial acuity? Given the organization of the visual cortex, the issue can be addressed by asking: 1. Is visual information processed in the same way, within a single cortical area? 2. Are different cortical areas specialized for different parts of the visual field? The electrophysiological data from the primary visual cortex indicate that many aspects of spatiotemporal computation are remarkably similar across the visual field, although subtle variations are detectable. Our anatomical and electrophysiological studies of the extrastriate cortex, on the other hand, suggest that visual processing in the far peripheral visual field is likely to involve a distinct network of specialized cortical areas, located in the depths of the calcarine sulcus and interhemispheric fissure.Neuroscience Research 09/2014; · 2.15 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Although macaque monkeys have been dominant models in visual neuroscience, recent scientific advances suggest that marmosets provide a valuable alternative in the context of many types of experiments. Here we focus on the middle temporal area (MT), the most extensively studied extrastriate area in primates, and discuss similarities and differences between marmosets and macaques. The basic response properties of MT cells are similar in these species, including direction selectivity, speed tuning, and receptive field centre-surround organization. However, there are differences associated with spatial processing: receptive fields are larger in the marmoset than in the macaque, and MT neurons have preferences for lower spatial frequencies. Comparative analysis of anatomical connections show neural projections from several higher-order association areas to marmoset MT, which seem to be absent or reduced in the macaque. This suggests that cognitive processes could influence the activity of marmoset MT cells more directly. Despite a relative reduction in visual acuity, the present knowledge about the anatomy and physiology of MT in the marmoset suggests that simple low-level visual tasks, which are standard in the literature, are well within the capabilities of marmosets, opening the way for comparative studies of perception and cognition in primate brains of different sizes.Neuroscience Research 10/2014; · 2.15 Impact Factor