Receptive field properties of X and Y cells in the cat retina derived from contrast sensitivity measurements

R. A. Linsenmeier*, L. J. Frishman, H. G. Jakiela, C. Enroth-Cugell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

154 Scopus citations


The contrast sensitivity to gratings drifting at 2.0 Hz has been measured for X and Y type retinal ganglion cells, and these data have been used to characterize the sizes and peak sensitivities of centers and surrounds. The assumption of Gaussian sensitivity distributions is adequate for both types of cells, but allows a better description of X than of Y cells. The size and peak sensitivity can be specified more precisely, in general, for the center than for the surround. The data also show that for both types of cells 1. (1) center radius increases with eccentricity, but is two to three times larger for Y cells than for X cells at a given eccentricity 2. (2) spatial resolution is an excellent predictor of center size 3. (3) the larger the center or surround, the lower its small spot sensitivity at a specific mean luminance 4. (4) the surround is nearly as strong as the center for large or diffuse stimuli. X cell surrounds are relatively weaker in the middle of the receptive field than Y cell surrounds, but X cell surrounds are larger relative to their centers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1173-1183
Number of pages11
JournalVision Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems
  • Ophthalmology


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