Dynamics of directional selectivity in area 18 and PMLS of the cat

Ildikó Vajdal*, Martin J.M. Lankheet, Bart G. Borghuis, Wim A. Van De Grind

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Visual latencies and temporal dynamics of area 18 and PMLS direction-selective complex cells were defined with a reverse correlation method. The method allowed us to analyze the time course of responses to motion steps, without confounding temporal integration effects. Several measures of response latency and direction tuning dynamics were quantified: optimal latency (OL), latency of first and last significant responses (FSR, LSR), the increase and decrease of direction sensitivity in time, and the change of direction tuning in time. FSR, OL and LSR values for PMLS and area 18 largely overlapped. The small differences in mean latencies (3-4 ms for FSR and OL and 11.9 ms for the LSR) were not statistically significant. All cells in area 18 and the vast majority of cells in PMLS showed no systematic changes in preferred direction (monophasic neurons). In PMLS 5 out of 41 cells showed a reversal of preferred direction after ∼56 ms relative to their OL (biphasic neurons). Monophasic cells showed no systematic changes in direction tuning width during the interval from FSR to LSR. In both areas, development of direction sensitivity was significantly faster than return to the non direction sensitive state, but no significant difference was found between the two areas. We conclude that, for the monophasic type of direction-selective complex cells, the dynamics of primary motion processing are highly comparable for area 18 and PMLS. This suggests that motion information is predominantly processed in parallel, presumably based on input from the fast conducting thalamocortical Y-pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)759-767
Number of pages9
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Cat extrastriate area
  • Motion vision
  • Random pixel array
  • Reverse correlation
  • Single unit recording


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