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Receptive Fields, Binocular Interaction and Functional Architecture in the Cat's Visual Cortex

By | November 2012
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J. Phyiiol. (1962), 160, pp. 106-154 With 2 plate and 20 text-ftgutre8 Printed in Gret Britain


BY D. H. HUBEL AD T. N. WIESEL From the Neurophysiolojy Laboratory, Department of Pharmacology Harvard Aledical School, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

(Received 31 July 1961)

What chiefly distinguishes cerebral cortex from other parts of the central nervous system is the great diversity of its cell types and interconnexions. It would be astonishing if such a structure did not profoundly modify the response patterns of fibres coming into it. In the cat's visual cortex, the receptive field arrangements of single cells suggest that there is indeed a degree of complexity far exceeding anything yet seen at lower levels in the visual system. In a previous paper we described receptive fields of single cortical cells, observing responses to spots of light shone on one or both retinas (Hubel & Wiesel, 1959). In the present work this method is used to examine receptive fields of a more complex type (Part I) and to make additional observations on binocular interaction (Part II). This approach is necessary in order to understand the behaviour of individual cells, but it fails to deal with the problem of the relationship of one cell to its neighbours. In the past, the technique of recording evoked slow waves has been used with great success in studies of functional anatomy. It was employed by Talbot & Marshall (1941) and by Thompson, Woolsey & Talbot (1950) for mapping out the visual cortex in the rabbit, cat, and monkey. Daniel & Whitteiidge (1959) have recently extended this work in the primate. Most of our present knowledge of retinotopic projections, binocular overlap, and the second visual area is based on these investigations. Yet the method of evoked potentials is valuable mainly for detecting behaviour common to large populations of neighbouring cells; it cannot...

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