Failure to find luxotonic responses for single units in visual cortex of the rabbit

P. J. Kahrilas, R. W. Doty*, J. R. Bartlett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The firing frequency of a population of 213 units in striate and circumstriate cortex of the moderately restrained rabbit was studied under the influence of alternating 1-min periods of darkness versus steady, diffuse, featureless illumination. The intent was to determine whether luxotonic responses, so prominent in striate cortex of primates, are indeed absent in rabbits. Such was the case, there being only transient occurrences in three units where the continuing rate of discharge in darkness was double that in the light. There were, however, much more modest differences in rate of continuing discharge in light versus darkness, and for 46% of the units discharging > 1/s this difference exceeded 10% and/or 1/s. The rate of discharge in any case did not provide a reliable index as to the characteristics of a unit's receptive field in response to patterned visual stimuli. The nature and function of luxotonic activity in primates still not being understood, it cannot be decided whether its absence in rabbits represents a true qualitative or merely a quantitative difference between species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-16
Number of pages6
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1980


  • Primate
  • Rabbit
  • Spontaneous activity
  • Visual cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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