Recognizing the visual stimulus from neuronal discharges

Trends Neurosci. 1991 Jul;14(7):282-6. doi: 10.1016/0166-2236(91)90138-k.


In this article, experiments are reviewed that have a bearing on the question of how 'meaning' is related to neuronal activity in the mammalian cortex; there is evidence that the excitation time pattern plays a major role. We suggest that 'objective meaning' is related to spatiotemporal activity distributions, whereas spike counts indicate the importance of the contribution of a given neurone to that meaning. Such a 'dual-coding' principle allows the visual system to emphasize selected activity components by central messages. The feature to be noted is that the objective meaning remains largely unaltered.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Haplorhini / physiology
  • Microelectrodes
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Neurophysiology / instrumentation
  • Neurophysiology / methods
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual*
  • Photic Stimulation*
  • Time Factors
  • Visual Cortex / physiology
  • Visual Perception / physiology*