Responses of single units in the monkey superior colliculus to moving stimuli

Exp Brain Res. 1979 Apr 2;35(2):349-69. doi: 10.1007/BF00236620.


1. Single unit responses of pan-directional cells to moving and stationary flashing stimuli were studied in the superficial layers of the superior colliculus in paralysed, anaesthetized rhesus monkeys. The aim of this study was to see how far cell responses to moving stimuli fit in with what would be expected from their responses to stationary flashing stimuli. 2. Both the leading and the trailing edge of a moving stimulus evoke a transient response. If the diameter of moving light spots is increased the strength of the leading edge response increases, reaches a maximum and decreases to a constant value which is similar to the behaviour of the on response when the diameter of flashing spots is increased. The strength of the trailing edge response increases and reaches the same strength as that of the leading edge response. If the width of a long moving slit is increased, the strength of the leading edge response is the same at all slit widths, while the strength of the trailing edge response shows a course similar to that of the trailing edge response if the spot diameter is increased. If the length of a wide moving slit is increased both the leading and the trailing edge responses decrease. These results indicate that the strength of both leading and trailing edge responses is dependent on the degree the inhibitory surround is activated. 3. The leading and the trailing edge of a stimulus evoke their responses at the same position in the receptive field independent of the direction of movement. 4. Increasing the velocity of a moving stimulus shows that in general the leading edge response is present up to higher velocities than the trailing edge response independent of the sign of contrast. The burst duration to moving stimuli decreases with increasing stimulus velocity and appears to be determined by the time a moving edge is present in the receptive field centre. When this time becomes shorter than 10--20 ms, the burst duration for moving stimuli is constant and about the same as for flashing stimuli. This indicates that, although spatial receptive field properties can vary considerably, temporal receptive field properties show a strong similarity among different units. 5. The response latencies to light and dark moving edges are the same, which in turn are about equal to the response latencies to stationary flashing stimuli. 6. Stimulation experiments show that the general response characteristics to moving stimuli can be predicted by using a set of receptive field parameters derived from responses to stationary flashing stimuli. The most important variable of moving stimuli appears to be the period of time a moving contour is present within the receptive field centre, besides the degree of activation of the inhibitory surround.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Eye Movements*
  • Form Perception / physiology
  • Haplorhini
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neural Inhibition
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Size Perception / physiology
  • Superior Colliculi / physiology*
  • Visual Fields
  • Visual Perception / physiology*