Direction selectivity

Benjamin L. Murphy-Baum*, Gregory William Schwartz, Gautam B. Awatramani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


The story of direction selectivity (DS) in the retina began nearly 60years ago and has remained a highly active research area ever since. DS is arguably the most well-studied computation in the nervous system and therefore provides a fascinating timeline of how our scientific understanding has evolved. Throughout the history of DS research, technical advancements have routinely propelled the field to new levels of understanding. From the introduction of single-unit retinal recordings (1950s) to improved electrode construction and stimulus presentation (1960s), computerized data acquisition (1970s), the whole-mount retinal preparation and supporting media (1980s), the whole-cell patch clamp (1980s to 1990s), two-photon microscopy and Ca2+ imaging (1990s to 2000s), serial block-face electron microscopy (2000s to 2010s), and genetically encoded activity sensors (2010 to present), DS research has traversed most of the journey and has benefited from it all. The long trail of studies that emerged over the years and how they wandered, branched, and came together over time is an illustrative example of how the scientific process builds on itself toward understanding complex systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRetinal Computation
Number of pages30
ISBN (Print)9780128198964
StatePublished - Aug 17 2021


  • Acetylcholine
  • ACh
  • Cholinergic neurons
  • Co-release
  • Dendritic processing
  • Direction selectivity
  • DS
  • GABA
  • Glutamate uncaging
  • NMDA receptors
  • OKR
  • ON DS
  • Optokinetic response
  • SAC
  • Starburst amacrine cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine
  • General Neuroscience


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