Skip to main content
Log in

Binocular interaction on single units in cat striate cortex: Simultaneous stimulation by single moving slit with receptive fields in correspondence

  • Published:
Experimental Brain Research Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Averaged responses of binocularly-activated single units of the striate cortex of paralysed cats were studied using a single, moving visual stimulus and prisms of variable power to control the visual direction of each eye. Binocular facilitation, summation or occlusion of the monocular response occurred, depending on the type of unit and on the prism setting. Binocular stimulating conditions were optimal for a given unit when the prism setting superimposed, or very nearly superimposed, the receptive field pair on the same plane as the moving stimulus. Under these optimal conditions, most units showed summation or facilitation of the monocular responses, with a minority showing occlusion. When the prism setting was changed from the optimal value, binocular occlusion could be demonstrated in all units.

Curves plotting binocular response against prism setting provided information on the specificity, temporal properties and symmetry of the binocular response. The binocular response of simple units showed great specificity with a sharply defined peak on the response curve at a particular prism setting. There was variation from one simple unit to another in the exact prism setting required to give the optimal response. A proportion of complex units, despite large receptive field size, showed binocular specificity with a very narrow range of facilitation, of the same order as that shown by simple units. Other complex units showed binocular facilitation over a wide range of prism settings.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others


  • Barlow, H.B., C. Blakemore and J.D. Pettigrew: The neural mechanism of binocular depth discrimination. J. Physiol. (Lond.) 193, 327–342 (1967).

    Google Scholar 

  • Bishop, P.O., W. Kozak and G.J. Vakkur: Some quantitative aspects of the cat's eye: axis and plane of reference, visual field co-ordinates and optics. J. Physiol. (Lond.) 163, 466–502 (1962).

    Google Scholar 

  • Colonnier, M.: The tangential organization of the visual cortex. J. Anat. (Lond.) 98, 327–344 (1964).

    Google Scholar 

  • Hubel, D.H., and T.N. Wiesel: Receptive fields, binocular interaction and functional architecture in the cat's visual cortex. J. Physiol. (Lond.) 160, 106–154 (1962).

    Google Scholar 

  • — Receptive fields and functional architecture in two non-striate visual areas (18 and 19)of the cat. J. Neurophysiol. 28, 229–289 (1965).

    Google Scholar 

  • — Cortical and callosal connections concerned with the vertical meridian of visual fields in the cat. J. Neurophysiol. 30, 1561–1573 (1967).

    Google Scholar 

  • Jenkins, F.A., and H.E. White: Fundamentals of optics. New York, London and Toronto: McGraw Hill Book Co. Inc. 1957.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nikara, T., P.O. Bishop and J.D. Pettigrew: Analysis of retinal correspondence by studying receptive fields of binocular single units in cat striate cortex. Exp. Brain Res. 6, 353–372 (1968).

    Google Scholar 

  • Pettigrew, J.D., T. Nikara and P.O. Bishop: Binocular specificity of visual cortical neurons. Aust. J. exp. Biol. med. Sci. 45, P-49 (1967a).

    Google Scholar 

  • Pettigrew, J.D., T. Nikara and P.O. Bishop: Neural mechanisms concerned in the development of amblyopia ex anopsia. Proc. Aust. Ass. Neurol. 5 (1967b) [in press].

  • Pettigrew, J.D., T. Nikara and P.O. Bishop: Responses to moving slits by single units in cat striate cortex. Exp. Brain Res. 6, 373–390 (1968).

    Google Scholar 

  • Pritchard, R.M., and W. Heron: Small eye movements of the cat. Canadian J. Psychol. 14, 131–137 (1960).

    Google Scholar 

  • Rashbass, C., and G. Westheimer: Disjunctive eye movements. J. Physiol. (Lond.) 159, 339–360 (1961).

    Google Scholar 

  • Sturr, J.F., and W.S. Battersby: Neural limitations of visual excitability. VIII. Binocular convergence in cat geniculate and cortex. Vision Res. 6, 401–418 (1966).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Additional information

Selby Fellow of the Australian Academy of Sciences.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Pettigrew, J.D., Nikara, T. & Bishop, P.O. Binocular interaction on single units in cat striate cortex: Simultaneous stimulation by single moving slit with receptive fields in correspondence. Exp Brain Res 6, 391–410 (1968).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Key Words