Spatial Organization of Receptive Fields and Dynamic Peculiarities of Neurons of the Extrastriate Area 21a of the Cat Cerebral Cortex

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In neurons of the extrastriate area 21a of the cat cortex, we examined the mode of initiation and peculiarities of inhibitory components in responses of these units to visual stimulation. About 31% of the studied neurons generated complex responses to mobile visual stimuli; the parameters of inhibitory components in these responses (location and duration) were different and depended on the contrast, dimension, and shape of the visual stimuli presented. We compared in detail the stationary spatial organization of receptive fields (RFs) and parameters of neuronal responses to presentation of moving stimuli in order to estimate the correlation between static and dynamic characteristics of the activity generated by the studied neurons. Our experiments showed that in most cases the neurons possessing identical homogeneous static characteristics of the RFs with off, on-off, and on responses could demonstrate quite different patterns of responses to moving stimuli, which differed from each other both in localization of inhibitory zones and discharge centers within the RFs and in time parameters of the components of these responses. The obtained data allow us to hypothesize that the dynamic characteristics of visually sensitive neurons in the extrastriate associative cortical regions are formed due to complex processes of spatial interaction between their “classic” RFs and the surrounding visual space.