A Local Circuit Integration Approach to Understanding Visual Cortical Receptive Fields

  • David C. Somers
  • Emanuel V. Todorov
  • Athanassios G. Siapas
  • Mriganka Sur


The traditional concept of the receptive field (e.g., [4, 6]) holds that each portion of the receptive field (RF), in response to a stimulus element, has unitary (excitatory or inhibitory) influence on neuronal response. Here, we argue: i) receptive field components naturally have dual or vector (both excitatory and inhibitory) influence; ii) neuronal integration is better understood in terms of local cortical circuitry than single neurons. Using a large-scale model of primary visual cortex, we demonstrate that the net effect of a given stimulus element within either the classical or extraclassical RF can switch between excitatory and inhibitory as global stimulus conditions change. We analyze and explain these effects by constructing self-contained modules (via a novel technique) which capture local circuit interactions. These modules illustrate a new vector-based RF analysis which unifies notions of classical and extraclassical RF, treating long-range intracortical inputs on equal footing with thalamocortical inputs.


Firing Rate Receptive Field Primary Visual Cortex Inhibitory Neuron Local Circuit 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • David C. Somers
    • 1
  • Emanuel V. Todorov
    • 1
  • Athanassios G. Siapas
    • 1
  • Mriganka Sur
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Brain and Cognitive ScienceMITCambridgeUSA

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