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Local precision of visuotopic organization in the middle temporal area (MT) of the macaque


The representation of the visual field in the middle temporal area (MT) was examined by recording from single neurons in anesthetized, immobilized macaques. Measurements of receptive field size, variability of receptive field position (scatter) and magnification factor were obtained within the representation of the central 25°. Over at least short distances (less than 3 mm), the visual field representation in MT is surprisingly orderly. Receptive field size increases as a linear function of eccentricity and is about ten times larger than in V1 at all eccentricities. Scatter in receptive field position at any point in the visual field representation is equal to about one-third of the receptive field size at that location, the same relationship that has been found in V1. Magnification factor in MT is only about onefifth that reported in V1 within the central 5° but appears to decline somewhat less steeply than in V1 with increasing eccentricity. Because the smaller magnification factor in MT relative to V1 is complemented by larger receptive field size and scatter, the point-image size (the diameter of the region of cortex activated by a single point in the visual field) is roughly comparable in the two areas. On the basis of these results, as well as on our previous finding that 180° of axis of stimulus motion in MT are represented in about the same amount of tissue as 180° of stimulus orientation in V1, we suggest that a stimulus at one point in the visual field activates at least as many functional “modules” in MT as in V1.

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Albright, T.D., Desimone, R. Local precision of visuotopic organization in the middle temporal area (MT) of the macaque. Exp Brain Res 65, 582–592 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00235981

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Key words

  • Visual area MT
  • Receptive field size
  • Receptive field scatter
  • Magnification factor
  • Point-image size
  • Modular organization