Capabilities of monkey cortical cells in spatial-resolution tasks

J Opt Soc Am A. 1985 Jul;2(7):1101-14. doi: 10.1364/josaa.2.001101.


The performance of individual neurons in monkey striate cortex has been examined in three spatial-resolution tasks by making microelectrode recordings from single cells in anaesthetized, paralyzed animals. The statistical reliability of responses from cells was used to estimate threshold levels of performance. For each task (resolution acuity for high-contrast gratings, discrimination of gratings varying in spatial frequency, and localization ability, i.e., discrimination of spatial phase), performance approaching psychophysical thresholds was obtained from single cortical cells. The receptive-field organization underlying localization performance was examined in detail by the use of a linear model that relates localization ability to the sensitivity of the receptive field to luminance contrast. Calculations from this model agree well with direct measurements of localization performance and are comparable with psychophysical measurements of hyperacuity. Though it has been suggested that cells with nonoriented receptive fields in cortical layer IVc beta may be responsible for recovering fine-grain spatial information, our calculations indicate that these cells are poorer at localization than many other cells in the cortex.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Discrimination, Psychological / physiology
  • Haplorhini
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Models, Biological
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Psychophysiology
  • Space Perception / physiology*
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology*
  • Visual Acuity
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*