Contrast-dependent orientation discrimination in the mouse

Sci Rep. 2015 Oct 29;5:15830. doi: 10.1038/srep15830.


As an important animal model to study the relationship between behaviour and neural activity, the mouse is able to perform a variety of visual tasks, such as orientation discrimination and contrast detection. However, it is not clear how stimulus contrast influences the performance of orientation discrimination in mice. In this study, we used two task designs, two-alternative forced choice (2AFC) and go/no-go, to examine the performance of mice to discriminate two orthogonal orientations at different contrasts. We found that the performance tended to increase with contrast, and the performance at high contrast was better when the stimulus set contained a single contrast than multiple contrasts. Physiological experiments in V1 showed that neural discriminability of two orthogonal orientations increased with contrast. Furthermore, orientation discriminability of V1 neurons at high contrast was higher in the single than in the multiple contrast condition, largely due to smaller response variance in the single contrast condition. Thus, the performance of mice to discriminate orientations at high contrast is adapted to the contrast range in the stimuli, partly attributed to the contrast-range dependent capacity of V1 neurons to discriminate orientations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Contrast Sensitivity / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Orientation / physiology*