Adaptation of the simple or complex nature of V1 receptive fields to visual statistics

Nat Neurosci. 2011 Jul 17;14(8):1053-60. doi: 10.1038/nn.2861.


Receptive fields in primary visual cortex (V1) are categorized as simple or complex, depending on their spatial selectivity to stimulus contrast polarity. We studied the dependence of this classification on visual context by comparing, in the same cell, the synaptic responses to three classical receptive field mapping protocols: sparse noise, ternary dense noise and flashed Gabor noise. Intracellular recordings revealed that the relative weights of simple-like and complex-like receptive field components were scaled so as to make the same receptive field more simple-like with dense noise stimulation and more complex-like with sparse or Gabor noise stimulations. However, once these context-dependent receptive fields were convolved with the corresponding stimulus, the balance between simple-like and complex-like contributions to the synaptic responses appeared to be invariant across input statistics. This normalization of the linear/nonlinear input ratio suggests a previously unknown form of homeostatic control of V1 functional properties, optimizing the network nonlinearities to the statistical structure of the visual input.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cats
  • Computer Simulation
  • Models, Biological
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Visual Cortex / cytology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Fields / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*