The dependence of response amplitude and variance of cat visual cortical neurones on stimulus contrast

Exp Brain Res. 1981;41(3-4):414-9. doi: 10.1007/BF00238900.


For neurones in the cat's striate cortex, we examined the dependence of response on the contrast of moving sinusoidal gratings. Most neurones showed a clear threshold contrast below which no response was elicited. Such thresholds presumably contribute to the animal's behavioural threshold, which should not be accounted for solely in terms of the detection of a signal in the presence of spontaneous "noise". Above threshold, the response amplitude usually increased linearly with contrast until it began to saturate at the highest contrasts. The variance of the response increased with its amplitude; this finding perhaps underlies the Weber-Fechner relation for psychophysical contrast discrimination.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Discrimination Learning / physiology
  • Form Perception / physiology*
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Retina / physiology
  • Sensory Thresholds
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiology