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J Neurophysiol. 2002 Sep;88(3):1128-35.

Responses of primate visual cortical V4 neurons to simultaneously presented stimuli.

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University of Alabama, Department of Physiological Optics, Birmingham, Alabama 35294, USA. Tgawne@icare.OPT.UAB.EDU


We report here results from 45 primate V4 visual cortical neurons to the preattentive presentations of seven different patterns located in two separate areas of the same receptive field and to combinations of the patterns in the two locations. For many neurons, we could not determine any clear relationship for the responses to two simultaneous stimuli. However, for a substantial fraction of the neurons we found that the firing rate was well modeled as the maximum firing rate of each stimulus presented separately. It has previously been proposed that taking the maximum of the inputs ("MAX" operator) could be a useful operation for neurons in visual cortex, although there has until now been little direct physiological evidence for this hypothesis. Our results here provide direct support for the hypothesis that the MAX operator plays a significant (although certainly not exclusive) role in generating the receptive field properties of visual cortical neurons.

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