On the velocity tuning of area 18 complex cell responses to moving textures

Ildikó Vajda*, Martin J.M. Lankheet, Tessa M. Van Leeuwen, Wim A. Van De Grind

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Unlike simple cells, complex cells of area 18 give a directionally selective response to motion of random textures, indicating that they may play a special role in motion detection. We therefore investigated how texture motion, and especially its velocity, is represented by area 18 complex cells. Do these cells have separable spatial and temporal tunings or are these nonseparable? To answer this question, we measured responses to moving random pixel arrays as a function of both pixel size and velocity, for a set of 63 directionally selective complex cells. Complex cells generally responded to a fairly wide range of pixel sizes and velocities. Variations in pixel size of the random pixel array only caused minor changes in the cells' preferred velocity. For nearly all cells the data much better fitted a model in which pixel size and velocity act separately, than a model in which pixel size and velocity interact so as to keep temporal-frequency sensitivity constant. Our conclusion is that the studied population of special complex cells in area 18 are true motion detectors, rather than temporal-frequency tuned neurons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)651-659
Number of pages9
JournalVisual Neuroscience
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Area 18
  • Cat visual cortex
  • Complex cell
  • Space-time separability
  • Texture motion

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