Shorter latencies for motion trajectories than for flashes in population responses of cat primary visual cortex

J Physiol. 2004 May 1;556(Pt 3):971-82. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2003.058941. Epub 2004 Feb 20.


Psychophysical evidence in humans indicates that localization is different for stationary flashed and coherently moving objects. To address how the primary visual cortex represents object position we used a population approach that pools spiking activity of many neurones in cat area 17. In response to flashed stationary squares (0.4 deg) we obtained localized activity distributions in visual field coordinates, which we referred to as profiles across a 'population receptive field' (PRF). We here show how motion trajectories can be derived from activity across the PRF and how the representation of moving and flashed stimuli differs in position. We found that motion was represented by peaks of population activity that followed the stimulus with a speed-dependent lag. However, time-to-peak latencies were shorter by approximately 16 ms compared to the population responses to stationary flashes. In addition, motion representation showed a directional bias, as latencies were more reduced for peripheral-to-central motion compared to the opposite direction. We suggest that a moving stimulus provides 'preactivation' that allows more rapid processing than for a single flash event.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Female
  • Kinetics
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Reaction Time / physiology*
  • Visual Cortex / cytology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiology
  • Visual Perception / physiology