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Evoked potentials and spike responses to moving stimuli in the optic tectum of goldfish


  1. 1.

    Tectal evoked responses (TERs) to periodically moving stimuli recorded from common goldfish (Carassius auratus) are a mixture of luminance and directionally selective components, reflecting the activity of the various kinds of tectal cells.

  2. 2.

    To separate the directionally selective components from the luminance components the TERs to moving stimuli were recorded at a flat part of the TER sensitivity profile and Fourier analysed. The profiles were plotted automatically with flickering light by application of the equal response method.

  3. 3.

    Fourier analysis showed that only a small part (ca. 18%) of the power of the response to horizontal movements can be attributed to directional selectivity.

  4. 4.

    Electrical stimulation of the optic nerve helps to identify ganglion cell terminals from post-synaptic tectal neurons. The units identified in this manner as tectal neurons can be directionally selective.

  5. 5.

    It was found that a very small part of the retinal ganglion cells but a considerable part of the tectal cells are directionally selective.

  6. 6.

    The small excess of the tectal cells with a temporo-nasal preferred direction makes the generally weak directional selectivity of the TER plausible.

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Directionally selective unit


Tectal evoked response


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We are indebted to Prof. H. Spekreijse and Hans Meek for many critical suggestions about the preparation of the manuscript and to Boudewijn Bijleveld for collaboration in the TER experiments. This research was supported by the Netherlands Organization for the Advancement of Pure Research (Z.W.O.).

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Riemslag, F.C.C., Schellart, N.A.M. Evoked potentials and spike responses to moving stimuli in the optic tectum of goldfish. J. Comp. Physiol. 128, 13–20 (1978).

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  • Optic Nerve
  • Ganglion Cell
  • Retinal Ganglion Cell
  • Prefer Direction
  • Horizontal Movement