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J Neurosci. 2006 Mar 22;26(12):3269-80.

Receptive field properties of neurons in the early visual cortex revealed by local spectral reverse correlation.

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Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences, Osaka University, Osaka 560-8531, Japan.


We introduce a novel class of white-noise analyses, named local spectral reverse correlation (LSRC), which is capable of revealing various aspects of visual receptive field profiles that were undetectable previously in a single simple measurement. The method is based on spectral analyses in a two-dimensional spatial frequency domain for spatially localized areas within and around their receptive fields. Extracellular single-unit recordings were performed for area 17 and 18 neurons in anesthetized cats. A dynamic dense noise pattern was presented in which the pattern covered an area two to three times larger than the classical receptive field. Spike trains were then cross-correlated with frequency spectra of localized noise pattern to obtain spatially localized selectivity maps in the two-dimensional frequency domain. Our findings are as follows. (1) The new LSRC method allows measurements of two-dimensional frequency tunings and their spatial extent even for cells with substantial nonlinearity. (2) A small subset of neurons shows spatial inhomogeneity in the two-dimensional frequency tunings. (3) In addition to facilitatory response profiles, we can also visualize suppressive profiles localized both in space and spatial frequency domains. Our results suggest that the new analysis technique can be a powerful tool for measuring visual response profiles that contain inhomogeneity in space, as well as for studying neurons with substantial nonlinearities. These features make the method particularly suitable for studying response profiles of neurons in early as well as intermediate extrastriate visual areas.

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