The use of m-sequences in the analysis of visual neurons: linear receptive field properties

Vis Neurosci. 1997 Nov-Dec;14(6):1015-27. doi: 10.1017/s0952523800011743.


We have used Sutter's (1987) spatiotemporal m-sequence method to map the receptive fields of neurons in the visual system of the cat. The stimulus consisted of a grid of 16 x 16 square regions, each of which was modulated in time by a pseudorandom binary signal, known as an m-sequence. Several strategies for displaying the m-sequence stimulus are presented. The results of the method are illustrated with two examples. For both geniculate neurons and cortical simple cells, the measurement of first-order response properties with the m-sequence method provided a detailed characterization of classical receptive-field structures. First, we measured a spatiotemporal map of both the center and surround of a Y-cell in the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN). The time courses of the center responses was biphasic: OFF at short latencies, ON at longer latencies. The surround was also biphasic--ON then OFF--but somewhat slower. Second, we mapped the response properties of an area 17 directional simple cell. The response dynamics of the ON and OFF subregions varied considerably; the time to peak ranged over more than a factor of two. This spatiotemporal inseparability is related to the cell's directional selectivity (Reid et al., 1987, 1991; McLean & Palmer, 1989; McLean et al., 1994). The detail with which the time course of response can be measured at many different positions is one of the strengths of the m-sequence method.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Geniculate Bodies / cytology
  • Geniculate Bodies / physiology
  • Male
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Visual Pathways / cytology
  • Visual Pathways / physiology*