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Trends Neurosci. 1995 Oct;18(10):451-8.

Receptive-field dynamics in the central visual pathways.

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Group in Vision Science, School of Optometry, University of California, Berkeley 94720-2020, USA.


Neurons in the central visual pathways process visual images within a localized region of space, and a restricted epoch of time. Although the receptive field (RF) of a visually responsive neuron is inherently a spatiotemporal entity, most studies have focused exclusively on spatial aspects of RF structure. Recently, however, the application of sophisticated RF-mapping techniques has enabled neurophysiologists to characterize RFs in the joint domain of space and time. Studies that use these techniques have revealed that neurons in the geniculostriate pathway exhibit striking RF dynamics. For a majority of cells, the spatial structure of the RF changes as a function of time; thus, these RFs can be characterized adequately only in the space-time domain. In this review, the spatiotemporal RF structure of neurons in the lateral geniculate nucleus and primary visual cortex is discussed.

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