To test theories of orientation selectivity in primary visual cortex (V1), we have done experiments to measure the dynamics of orientation tuning of single neurons in the V1 cortex of macaque monkeys. Based on our dynamics results, we propose that a V1 cell's orientation selectivity is generated mainly by both tuned enhancement and global suppression. Enhancement near the preferred orientation is probably caused by feed-forward input from LGN (plus amplification by cortical-cortical interaction). Global suppression could be supplied by cortical inhibition. Additionally, in about 1/3 of V1 neurons (usually the most sharply tuned) there is tuned suppression, centered near the cell's preferred orientation but broader than tuned enhancement. These mechanisms also can explain important features of steady-state selectivity in the V1 neuron population. Furthermore, similar neuronal mechanisms may be used generally throughout the cerebral cortex.