, Volume 188, Issue 3, pp 173-178

Stimulus size selectivity and receptive field organization of ectostriatal neurons in the pigeon

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Abstract.

The avian ectostriatum is the telencephalic recipient zone of the tectofugal pathway, which may be homologous to the colliculo-pulvinar-cortical pathway in mammals. The present paper studies the visual response properties and receptive field organization of ectostriatal cells in pigeons with extracellular recording and computer mapping techniques. The results indicate that 90% of ectostriatal cells prefer forward, downward and upward motion of visual stimuli at velocities in the range of 16–128° s–1. They respond optimally to small stimuli (1–4° visual angle), mostly preferring a target of 2°. Most cells (78.8%) have one excitatory receptive field that usually possesses one or two hotspots, some cells (13.5%) have two excitatory receptive fields each having one or two hotspots, and a few cells (7.7%) have one excitatory receptive field with an unresponsive region in the center. An inhibitory receptive field is not found surrounding the excitatory receptive field in the ectostriatal cells examined. These response properties and receptive field organization may reflect the possible roles of the ectostriatum in stimulus discrimination and visual cognition.

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