Receptive field characterization

For each recording site we initially determined the location of the receptive field (RF) as well as the optimal orientation, spatial frequency and phase using reverse correlation techniques43,44. Briefly, the location of the RF was estimated by mapping the classical receptive field with briefly presented dark and light squares (0.1° width, 100% contrast) at pseudo-random locations on a 10 × 10 grid (a 1 × 1° area). The RF centre was taken as the location of the peak of the Gaussian fitted to the response distribution25. The mean RF eccentricity was 3.25°, 5.6°, and 5.7° in monkeys 1, 2, and 3, respectively. Thereafter, the tuning properties were estimated using static sinusoidal gratings (1° diameter) centred on the RF. These gratings varied in orientation (12 orientations, 0–165°), spatial frequency (1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9 or 10 cycles/°) and phase (0, 0.5π, π, 1.5π) every 60 ms in a pseudo-randomized order. The stimulus that yielded the peak response was taken to represent the preferred orientation, spatial frequency, and phase of the neuron under study. The obtained parameters were used to determine the spatial frequency and orientation of the central and the flanking Gabor elements, which had identical properties. These reverse correlation procedures were conducted while monkeys fixated centrally on the CRT monitor.

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