Classifying simple and complex cells on the basis of response modulation

Vision Res. 1991;31(7-8):1079-86. doi: 10.1016/0042-6989(91)90033-2.


Hubel and Wiesel (1962; Journal of Physiology, London, 160, 106-154) introduced the classification of cortical neurons as simple and complex on the basis of four tests of their receptive field structure. These tests are partly subjective and no one of them unequivocally places neurons into distinct classes. A simple, objective classification criterion based on the form of the response to drifting sinusoidal gratings has been used by several laboratories, although it has been criticized by others. We review published and unpublished evidence which indicates that this simple and objective criterion reliability divides neurons of the striate cortex in both cats and monkeys into two groups that correspond closely to the classically-described simple and complex classes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cats
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology
  • Haplorhini
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology
  • Visual Cortex / cytology*
  • Visual Cortex / physiology