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Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 1986 Sep 22;228(1253):379-400.

The structure and symmetry of simple-cell receptive-field profiles in the cat's visual cortex.


Receptive fields of simple cells in the cat visual cortex have recently been discussed in relation to the 'theory of communication' proposed by Gabor (1946). A number of investigators have suggested that the line-weighting functions, as measured orthogonal to the preferred orientation, may be best described as the product of a Gaussian envelope and a sinusoid (i.e. a Gabor function). Following Gabor's theory of 'basis' functions, it has also been suggested that simple cells can be categorized into even- and odd-symmetric categories. Based on the receptive field profiles of 46 simple cells recorded from cat visual cortex, our analysis provides a quantitative description of both the receptive-field envelope and the receptive-field 'symmetry' of each of the 46 cells. The results support the notion that, to a first approximation, Gabor functions with three free parameters (envelope width, carrier frequency and carrier phase) provide a good description of the receptive-field profiles. However, our analysis does not support the notion that simple cells generally fit into even- and odd-symmetric categories.

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