Responses of rabbit superior colliculus neurons to repeated visual stimuli

J Neurophysiol. 1975 Mar;38(2):301-12. doi: 10.1152/jn.1975.38.2.301.


It has been shown that cells in the superficial layers of the superior colliculus exhibit response decrements when a visual stimulus is repeated. These response decrements have some of the properties associated with habituation, in particular, 1) spontaneous recovery and 2) habituation rate dependent on stimulus frequency. These observations have been made in two classes of neurons; direction-selective cells and so-called modified concentric cells. All of these neurons had small receptive fields and well-defined response properties. Some neurons in both the direction-selective and modified concentric groups do not show habituation. On the basis of area-threshold curves and other observations, it is suggested that those neurons which habituate possess strong inhibitory inputs which are weak or lacking in thenonhabituating neurons. This generalization leads to a hypothesis that inhibition in the superior colliculus has a long decay time and that a response to a given stimulus is affected by inhibition activated by preceding stimuli.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Eye Movements
  • Female
  • Habituation, Psychophysiologic*
  • Male
  • Microelectrodes
  • Rabbits / physiology*
  • Superior Colliculi / physiology*
  • Vision, Ocular*