Visual cortex neurons in monkey and cat: effect of contrast on the spatial and temporal phase transfer functions

Vis Neurosci. Nov-Dec 1995;12(6):1191-210. doi: 10.1017/s0952523800006817.

Abstract

The responses of simple cells (recorded from within the striate visual cortex) were measured as a function of the contrast and the frequency of sine-wave grating patterns in order to explore the effect of contrast on the spatial and temporal phase transfer functions and on the spatiotemporal receptive field. In general, as the contrast increased, the phase of the response advanced by approximately 45 ms (approximately one-quarter of a cycle for frequencies near 5 Hz), although the exact value varied from cell to cell. The dynamics of this phase-advance were similar to the dynamics of the amplitude: the amplitude and the phase increased in an accelerating fashion at lower contrasts and then saturated at higher contrasts. Further, the gain for both the amplitude and the phase appeared to be governed by the magnitude of the contrast rather than the magnitude of the response. For the spatial phase transfer function, variations in contrast had little or no systematic effect; all of the phase responses clustered around a single straight line, with a common slope and intercept. This implies that the phase-advance was not due to a change in the spatial properties of the neuron; it also implies that the phase-advance was not systematically related to the magnitude of the response amplitude. On the other hand, for the temporal phase transfer function, the phase responses fell on five straight lines, related to the five steps in contrast. As the contrast increased, the phase responses advanced such that both the slope and the intercept were affected. This implies that the phase-advance was a result of contrast-induced changes in both the response latency and the shape/symmetry of the temporal receptive field.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats / physiology*
  • Contrast Sensitivity / physiology*
  • Haplorhini / physiology*
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Visual Cortex / cytology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*