A model for orientation tuning and contextual effects of orientation selective receptive fields

  • Hauke Bartsch
  • Martin Stetter
  • Klaus Obermayer
Part II: Cortical Maps and Receptive Fields
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 1327)


We investigate a mean-field model which has previously been used to explain the response properties of orientation selective neurons in the primary visual cortex of monkeys and cats [2]. Two mutually coupled orientation hypercolumns are setup as local amplifiers based on local recurrent excitation and inhibition. We first investigate the individual hypercolumns. The model correctly predicts contrast invariant tuning, but analytical and numerical results show that the contrast response functions of individual orientation columns do not saturate. We therefore hypothesize that the cortical saturation effects found experimentally may be a consequence of the non-linear properties of single neurons rather than being an effect of different gains for inhibitory and excitatory cells [13]. We then extend this model to cover non-classical receptive fields and contextual effects. The model correctly predicts effective iso-orientation inhibition between hypercolumns. As long as parameters are chosen to ensure contrast invariant orientation tuning, however, net cross-orientation facilitation emerges only, if cells of different orientation preference are connected across hypercolumns. These results hint at deficiencies of this simple approach and suggest that contextual effects are mediated by populations of neurons, which are not take part of the local gain control.


Receptive Field Contextual Effect Primary Visual Cortex Marginal Phase Orientation Difference 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    D. G. Albrecht and D. B. Hamilton. Striate cortex of monkey and cat: contrast response function. J. Neurophysiol., 48:217–237, 1982.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    R. Ben-Yishai, R. Lev Bar-Or, and H. Sompolinski. Theory of orientation tuning in visual cortex. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 92:3844–3848, 1995.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    C. Blakemore and E. A. Tobin. Lateral inhibition between orientation detectors in the cat's visual cortex. Exp. Brain Res., 15:439–440, 1972.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    G. C. DeAngelis, J. G. Robson, I. Ohzawa, and R. D. Freeman. Organization of suppression in receptive fields of neurons in cat visual cortex. J. Neurophysiol., 68:144–163, 1992.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    C. D. Gilbert and T. N. Wiesel. The influence of contextual stimuli on the orientation selectivity of cells in primary visual cortex of the cat. Vision Res., 30:1689–1701, 1990.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    J. B. Levitt and J. S. Lund. Contrast dependence of contexual effects in primate visual cortex. Nature, 387:73–76, 1997.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    D. A. McCormick, B. W. Connors, J. E. Lighthall, and D. A. Prince. Comparative electrophysiology of pyramidal and sparsely spiny stellate neurons of the neocortex. J. Neurophysiol., 54(4):782–806, 1985.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    T. Mundel, A. Dimitrov, and J. Cowan. A simple model for cortical orientation selectivity. In G. Tesauro et al., editors, NIPS. MIT Press, 1996. in press.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    K. Pawelzik, U. Ernst, F. Wolf, and T. Geisel. Orientation contrast sensitivity from long-range interactions in visual cortex. In G. Tesauro et al., editors, NIPS. MIT Press, 1996. in press.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    A. M. Sillito, K. L. Grieve, H. E. Jones, J. Cudeiro, and J. Davis. Visual cortical mechanisms detecting focal discontinuities. Nature, 378:492–496, 1995.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    B. C. Skottun, A. Bradley, G. Sclar, I. Ohzawa, and R. D. Freeman. The effects of contrast on visual orientation and spatial frequency discrimination: a comparison of single cells and behaviour. J. Neurophysiol., 57:773–786, 1987.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    D. C. Somers, S. B. Nelson, and M. Sur. An emergent model of orientation selectivity in cat visual cortical simple cells. J. Neurosci., 15:5448–5465, 1995.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    E. Todorov, A. Siapas, and D. Somers. A model of recurrent interactions in primary visual cortex. In T. Leen G. Tesauro, D. Touretzky, editor, Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 8. MIT Press Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1996.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    T. Yoshioka, G. G. Blasdel, J. B. Levitt, and J. S. Lund. Relation between patterns of intrinsic lateral connectivity, ocular dominance and cytochrome oxidase-reactive regions in macaque monkey striate cortex. Cereb. Cortex, page in press., 1997.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hauke Bartsch
    • 1
  • Martin Stetter
    • 1
  • Klaus Obermayer
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of Computer ScienceTechnische Universität BerlinGermany

Personalised recommendations