Effects of contrast and contrast adaptation on static receptive field features in macaque area V1

J Neurophysiol. 2012 Oct;108(7):2033-50. doi: 10.1152/jn.00936.2011. Epub 2012 Jul 18.


The spatiotemporal features of the "static" receptive field (RF), as revealed with flashing bars or spots, determine other RF properties. We examined how some of these static RF features vary with contrast and contrast adaptation in area V1 of the anesthetized macaque monkey. RFs were mapped with light and dark flashing bars presented at three different contrasts, with the low and medium contrasts eliciting approximately 1/3 and 2/3 of the high-contrast response amplitude. The main results are as follows: 1) RF widths decreased when contrast decreased; however, the amount of decrease was less than that expected from an iceberg model and closer to the expectation of a contrast invariance of the RF width. 2) Area tuning experiments with drifting gratings showed an opposite effect of contrast: an increase in preferred stimulus diameter when contrast decreased. This implies that the effect of contrast on preferred stimulus size is not predictable from the static RF. 3) Contrast adaptation attenuated the effect of contrast on RF amplitude but did not significantly modify RF width. 4) RF subregion overlap was only marginally affected by changes in contrast and contrast adaptation; the classification of cells as simple and complex, when established from subregion overlap, appears to be robust with respect to changes in contrast and adaptation state. Previous studies have shown that the spatiotemporal features of the RF depend largely on the stimuli used to map the RF. This study shows that contrast is one elemental feature that contributes to the dynamics of the RF.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Animals
  • Contrast Sensitivity*
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Male
  • Models, Neurological
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiology