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Complementary global maps for orientation coding in upper and lower layers of the monkey's foveal striate cortex

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A population of 269 cells recorded from the foveal representation of striate cortex in 2 rhesus macaque monkeys was examined for orientation preference as a function of receptive field position relative to the center of gaze. Cells recorded in supragranular and infragranular layers were segregated and compared. Within the foveolar region (0.0–0.5 degrees) supragranular cells showed a vertical bias which was not evident in the infragranular layers. At larger eccentricities (0.5–2.5°) supragranular cells showed a radial bias (preferred orientation points toward the center of gaze), whereas infragranular cells showed a concentric bias (preferred orientation is tangent to a circle around the center of gaze). These results are consistent with our earlier report of an orientation shift between the supragranular and infragranular layers (Bauer et al. 1980, 1983; Dow and Bauer 1984). The diagonal orientation bias which we noted earlier (Bauer et al. 1980; Dow and Bauer 1984) in supragranular cells at eccentricities between 0.5 and 2.5° can be explained by the radial bias, combined with a tendency for recording sites to favor receptive field locations closer to the diagonal meridia than to either the horizontal or vertical meridia. Given other evidence that upper layer cells in macaque striate cortex tend to show either orientation or color selectivity, while lower layer cells tend to show movement sensitivity (Dow 1974; Livingstone and Hubel 1984), the present data suggest a functional dichotomy between a supragranular system involved in fixational eye movements and pattern vision and an infragranular system activated primarily by optical flow fields during ambulation.

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Correspondence to B. M. Dow.

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Bauer, R., Dow, B.M. Complementary global maps for orientation coding in upper and lower layers of the monkey's foveal striate cortex. Exp Brain Res 76, 503–509 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00248906

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Key words

  • Orientation
  • Striate cortex
  • Fovea
  • Macaque monkey
  • Fixation
  • Optical flow