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Neuron. 2008 Jan 10;57(1):147-58. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2007.10.042.

Adaptation to natural binocular disparities in primate V1 explained by a generalized energy model.

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Laboratory for Sensorimotor Research, National Eye Institute/NIH, 49 Convent Drive, Building 49/2A50, Bethesda MD 20892, USA.


Sensory processing in the brain is thought to have evolved to encode naturally occurring stimuli efficiently. We report an adaptation in binocular cortical neurons that reflects the tight constraints imposed by the geometry of 3D vision. We show that the widely used binocular energy model predicts that neurons dedicate part of their dynamic range to impossible combinations of left and right images. Approximately 42% of the neurons we record from V1 of awake monkeys behave in this way (a powerful confirmation of the model), while about 58% deviate from the model in a manner that concentrates more of their dynamic range on stimuli that obey the constraints of binocular geometry. We propose a simple extension of the energy model, using multiple subunits, that explains the adaptation we observe, as well as other properties of binocular neurons that have been hard to account for, such as the response to anti-correlated stereograms.

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