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Stimulus Specific Responses from Beyond the Classical Receptive Field: Neurophysiological Mechanisms for Local-Global Comparisons in Visual Neurons

Allman, John and Miezin, Francis and McGuinness, Evelynn (1985) Stimulus Specific Responses from Beyond the Classical Receptive Field: Neurophysiological Mechanisms for Local-Global Comparisons in Visual Neurons. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 8 . pp. 407-430. ISSN 0147-006X. http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20161021-142042210

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Abstract

We perceive the visual world as a unitary whole, yet one of the guiding principles of nearly a half century of neurophysiological research since the early recordings by Hartline (1938) has been that the visual system consists of neurons that are driven by stimulation within small discrete portions of the total visual field. These classical receptive fields (CRFs) have been mapped with the excitatory responses evoked by a flashed or moving stimulus, usually a spot or bar of light. Most of the visual neurons, in turn, are organized in a series of maps of the visual field, at least 10 of which exist in the visual cortex in primates as well as additional topographic representations in the lateral geniculate body, pulvinar and optic tectum (Allman 1977, Newsome & Allman 1980, Allman & Kaas 1984). It has been widely assumed that perceptual functions that require the integration of inputs over large portions of the visual field must be either collective properties of arrays of neurons representing the visual field, or features of those neurons at the highest processing levels in the visual system, such as the cells in inferotemporal or posterior parietal cortex that typically possess very large receptive fields and do not appear to be organized in visuotopic maps. These assumptions have been based on the results of the many studies in which receptive fields were mapped with conventional stimuli, presented one at a time, against a featureless background. However, unlike the neurophysiologist's tangent screen, the natural visual scene is rich in features, and there is a growing body of evidence that in many visual neurons stimuli presented outside the CRF strongly and selectively influence neural responses to stimuli presented within the CRF. These results suggest obvious mechanisms for local-global comparisons within visuotopically organized structures. Such broad and specific surround mechanisms could participate in many functions that require the integration of inputs over wide regions of the visual space such as the perceptual constancies, the segregation of figure from ground, and depth perception through motion parallax. In the first section of this paper, we trace the historical development of the evidence of response selectivity for visual stimuli presented beyond the CRF; in the second, examine the anatomical pathways that sub serve these far-reaching surround mechanisms; and in the third, explore the possible relationships between these mechanisms and perception.


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev.ne.08.030185.002203DOIArticle
http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.ne.08.030185.002203PublisherArticle
Additional Information:© 1985 Annual Reviews. We thank Drs. Francis Crick, Robert Desimone, John Maunsell, and Terrence Sejnowski for many helpful discussions and Leslie Wolcott for drawing the illustrations. This work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (EY-03851), the Pew Memorial Trust and the L. S. B. Leakey Foundation.
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Funding AgencyGrant Number
NIHEY-03851
Pew Memorial TrustUNSPECIFIED
Leakey FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20161021-142042210
Persistent URL:http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20161021-142042210
Official Citation:Stimulus Specific Responses from Beyond the Classical Receptive Field: Neurophysiological Mechanisms for Local-Global Comparisons in Visual Neurons J Allman, F Miezin, and E McGuinness Annual Review of Neuroscience, Vol. 8: 407 -430 (Volume publication date March 1985)
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:71355
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:21 Oct 2016 21:37
Last Modified:21 Oct 2016 21:37

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