Receptive field properties of x and y cells in the cat retina derived from contrast sensitivity measurements

Vision Res. 1982;22(9):1173-83. doi: 10.1016/0042-6989(82)90082-7.


The contrast sensitivity to gratings drifting at 2.0 Hz has been measured for X and Y type retinal ganglion cells, and these data have been used to characterize the sizes and peak sensitivities of centers and surrounds. The assumption of Gaussian sensitivity distributions is adequate for both types of cells, but allows a better description of X than of Y cells. The size and peak sensitivity can be specified more precisely, in general, for the center than for the surround. The data also show that for both types of cells (1) center radius increases with eccentricity, but is two to three times larger than Y cells than for X cells at a given eccentricity, (2) spatial resolution is an excellent predictor of center size, (3) the larger the center or surround, the lower its small spot sensitivity at a specific mean lumminance and (4) the surround is nearly as strong as the center for large or diffuse stimuli. X cell surrounds are relatively weaker in the middle of the receptive field than Y cell surrounds, but X cell surrounds are larger relative to their centers.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Optic Nerve / physiology
  • Retina / physiology*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology*
  • Space Perception / physiology*
  • Visual Acuity