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J Neurophysiol. 2002 Jul;88(1):455-63.

Spatial structure and symmetry of simple-cell receptive fields in macaque primary visual cortex.

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Department of Neurobiology, Psychology, and Brain Research Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.


I present measurements of the spatial structure of simple-cell receptive fields in macaque primary visual cortex (area V1). Similar to previous findings in cat area 17, the spatial profile of simple-cell receptive fields in the macaque is well described by two-dimensional Gabor functions. A population analysis reveals that the distribution of spatial profiles in primary visual cortex lies approximately on a one-parameter family of filter shapes. Surprisingly, the receptive fields cluster into even- and odd-symmetry classes with a tendency for neurons that are well tuned in orientation and spatial frequency to have odd-symmetric receptive fields. The filter shapes predicted by two recent theories of simple-cell receptive field function, independent component analysis and sparse coding, are compared with the data. Both theories predict receptive fields with a larger number of subfields than observed in the experimental data. In addition, these theories do not generate receptive fields that are broadly tuned in orientation and low-pass in spatial frequency, which are commonly seen in monkey V1. The implications of these results for our understanding of image coding and representation in primary visual cortex are discussed.

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