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J Neurophysiol. 1990 Aug;64(2):370-80.

Temporal encoding of two-dimensional patterns by single units in primate primary visual cortex. II. Information transmission.

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Laboratory of Neuropsychology, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


1. Previously, we studied how picture information was processed by neurons in inferior temporal cortex. We found that responses varying in both response strength and temporal waveform carried information about briefly flashed stationary black-and-white patterns. Now, we have applied that same paradigm to the study of striate cortical neurons. 2. In this approach the responses to a set of basic black and white pictures were quantified through use of a set of basic waveforms, the principal components (extracted from all the responses of each neuron). We found that the first principal component, which corresponds to the response strength, and others, which correspond to different basic temporal activity patterns, were significantly related to the stimuli, i.e., the stimulus drove both the response strength and its temporal pattern. 3. Our previous study had shown that, when information theory was used to quantify the stimulus-response relation, inferior temporal neurons convey over twice as much information in a response code that includes temporal modulation as in a response code that includes only the response strength. This study shows that striate cortical neurons also carry twice as much information in a temporal code as in a response strength code. Thus single visual neurons at both ends of a cortical processing chain for visual pattern use a multidimensional temporal code to carry stimulus-related information. 4. These results support our multiplex-filter hypothesis, which states that single visual system neurons can be regarded as several simultaneously active parallel channels, each of which conveys independent information about the stimulus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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