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Exp Brain Res. 1986;65(1):11-37.

Visual properties and spatial distribution of neurones in the visual association area on the prelunate gyrus of the awake monkey.


We have analysed, in the awake monkey (Macaca sylvana) the functional properties of 489 neurones in the prelunate visual area (PVA, largely corresponding to V4). PVA has a coarse retinotopic organization with the lower quadrant of the visual field represented along the prelunate gyrus. The visual periphery is located medio-dorsally, the central visual field laterally near (and within?) the inferior occipital sulcus and the upper quadrant latero-ventrally. The vertical meridian runs caudally within the lunate sulcus, the horizontal meridian crosses the prelunate gyrus and continues into the superior temporal sulcus. Receptive field diameters of neurones vary between 1 degree and 10 degrees with increase towards the visual periphery, but are strictly confined to the contralateral visual field. 28% of the neurones showed spectral sensitivity. About half of these cells had strong spectral opponency, the other half showed only weak opponency with broader spectral response curves. 11 cells (2%) showed striking centre/surround interactions with inhibition, disinhibition or occlusion of the two mechanisms, and different spectral response ranges of the centre and the surround, respectively. 43% of the prelunate cells were responsive to various spatial features without spectral sensitivity. We distinguished on- and off-center cells (2%), direction and movement sensitive cells (10%) and cells sensitive to gratings of parallel lines within a limited range of orientations (about 10%). A special group were cells which responded strongly to stimuli which contained many contrasts (textures without specific orientations and without regular spatial arrangements) (9%). Many of these cells were specifically responsive to variations of the internal structure of such stimuli. 3% of the cells were strongly activated in connection with behaviour: 11 neurones discharged strongly when the monkey looked attentively at a human face or when he responded with facial expressions to a threatening expression of a person. Photographs of faces were not effective. Some neurones (1%) were activated in connection with eye movement. These neurones were found in the lateral part of the prelunate gyrus. Neurones with spectral or non-spectral properties were clustered within small, irregularly shaped patches of 1-4 mm diameter. It is concluded that the prelunate visual cortex, which we consider as part of area 19, is not just a "colour area", but represents various features of the visual environment (including colour, luminance, movement, texture and behavioral significance), and relates them - through its subcortical and cortical outputs - to behaviour.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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