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J Neurophysiol. 1998 Mar;79(3):1135-44.

Coding strategies in monkey V1 and inferior temporal cortices.

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


We would like to know whether the statistics of neuronal responses vary across cortical areas. We examined stimulus-elicited spike count response distributions in V1 and inferior temporal (IT) cortices of awake monkeys. In both areas, the distribution of spike counts for each stimulus was well described by a Gaussian distribution, with the log of the variance in the spike count linearly related to the log of the mean spike count. Two significant differences in response characteristics were found: both the range of spike counts and the slope of the log(variance) versus log(mean) regression were larger in V1 than in IT. However, neurons in the two areas transmitted approximately the same amount of information about the stimuli and had about the same channel capacity (the maximum possible transmitted information given noise in the responses). These results suggest that neurons in V1 use more variable signals over a larger dynamic range than IT neurons, which use less variable signals over a smaller dynamic range. The two coding strategies are approximately as effective in transmitting information.

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