Signal timing across the macaque visual system

J Neurophysiol. 1998 Jun;79(6):3272-8. doi: 10.1152/jn.1998.79.6.3272.


The onset latencies of single-unit responses evoked by flashing visual stimuli were measured in the parvocellular (P) and magnocellular (M) layers of the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (LGNd) and in cortical visual areas V1, V2, V3, V4, middle temporal area (MT), medial superior temporal area (MST), and in the frontal eye field (FEF) in individual anesthetized monkeys. Identical procedures were carried out to assess latencies in each area, often in the same monkey, thereby permitting direct comparisons of timing across areas. This study presents the visual flash-evoked latencies for cells in areas where such data are common (V1 and V2), and are therefore a good standard, and also in areas where such data are sparse (LGNd M and P layers, MT, V4) or entirely lacking (V3, MST, and FEF in anesthetized preparation). Visual-evoked onset latencies were, on average, 17 ms shorter in the LGNd M layers than in the LGNd P layers. Visual responses occurred in V1 before any other cortical area. The next wave of activation occurred concurrently in areas V3, MT, MST, and FEF. Visual response latencies in areas V2 and V4 were progressively later and more broadly distributed. These differences in the time course of activation across the dorsal and ventral streams provide important temporal constraints on theories of visual processing.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology
  • Macaca
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology*
  • Visual Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Visual Cortex / cytology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*