Correlation of local and global orientation and spatial frequency tuning in macaque V1

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Abstract

Visual cortical neurones display a variety of visual properties. Among those that emerge in the primary visual cortex V1 are sharpening of selectivity for spatial frequency and for orientation. The selectivity for these stimulus attributes can be measured around the peak of the tuning function, usually as bandwidth. Other selectivity measures take into account the response across a broader range of stimulus values. An example of such a global measure is the circular variance of orientation tuning. Here we introduce a similar measure in the spatial frequency domain that takes into account the shape of the tuning curve at frequencies lower than the peak, called the low-spatial frequency variance. Our recent studies with dynamic stimuli suggest that the selectivity for spatial frequency and orientation is strongly correlated with the degree of suppression at low spatial frequencies and off-axis orientations. Here we extend the study of the global tuning to stimulus conditions that measure the response of cells to the presentation of drifting sinusoidal grating stimuli for periods of a few seconds. We find that under such steady-state stimulus conditions there is a strong correlation between the global selectivity measures, orientation circular variance and low spatial frequency variance. Consistent with previous studies, there is a weaker correlation between the local tuning measures, orientation and spatial frequency bandwidth. These results support the idea that there are multiple factors that contribute to tuning and that suppression observed in dynamic experiments is also likely to contribute to the global selectivity for steady-state stimuli.

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