Representation of spatial frequency and orientation in the visual cortex

R. M. Everson, A. K. Prashanth, M. Gabbay, B. W. Knight, L. Sirovivh, E. Kaplan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Knowledge of the response of the primary visual cortex to the various spatial frequencies and orientations in the visual scene should help us understand the principles by which the brain recognizes patterns. Current information about the cortical layout of spatial frequency response is still incomplete because of difficulties in recording and interpreting adequate data. Here, we report results from a study of the cat primary visual cortex in which we employed a new image-analysis method that allows improved separation of signal from noise and that we used to examine the neurooptical response of the primary visual cortex to drifting sine gratings over a range of orientations and spatial frequencies. We found that (i) the optical responses to all orientations and spatial frequencies were well approximated by weighted sums of only two pairs of basis pictures, one pair for orientation and a different pair for spatial frequency; (ii) the weightings of the two pictures in each pair were approximately in quadrature (1/4 cycle apart); and (iii) our spatial frequency data revealed a cortical map that continuously assigns different optimal spatial frequency responses to different cortical locations over the entire spatial frequency range.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8334-8338
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number14
StatePublished - 7 Jul 1998


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