The amount of information transmitted about contrast by neurones in the cat's visual cortex

Vis Neurosci. 1989;2(4):409-13. doi: 10.1017/s0952523800002212.


The responses of neurones in the cat's visual cortex are very variable in amplitude. Thus, although the average response amplitude of a single neurone depends closely upon the contrast of a sinusoidal grating, the instantaneous amplitude of the response can convey little information about the grating's contrast. This paper shows that a typical cortical neurone can convey less than one bit of information about contrast in 0.5 s. The amount of information that a neurone can convey is closely correlated with the neurone's responsivity.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Contrast Sensitivity / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission*
  • Visual Cortex / cytology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*