Neuronal response to texture- and contrast-defined boundaries in early visual cortex

Vis Neurosci. Jan-Feb 2007;24(1):65-77. doi: 10.1017/S0952523807070113.


Natural scenes contain a variety of visual cues that facilitate boundary perception (e.g., luminance, contrast, and texture). Here we explore whether single neurons in early visual cortex can process both contrast and texture cues. We recorded neural responses in cat A18 to both illusory contours formed by abutting gratings (ICs, texture-defined) and contrast-modulated gratings (CMs, contrast-defined). We found that if a neuron responded to one of the two stimuli, it also responded to the other. These neurons signaled similar contour orientation, spatial frequency, and movement direction of the two stimuli. A given neuron also exhibited similar selectivity for spatial frequency of the fine, stationary grating components (carriers) of the stimuli. These results suggest that the cue-invariance of early cortical neurons extends to different kinds of texture or contrast cues, and might arise from a common nonlinear mechanism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Contrast Sensitivity / physiology*
  • Craniotomy
  • Electrophysiology / methods
  • Illusions
  • Microelectrodes
  • Models, Animal
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Reaction Time
  • Visual Cortex / growth & development
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*