The response properties of 354 single neurons in the medial (M), dorsomedial (DM), dorsolateral (DL), and middle temporal (MT) visual areas were studied quantitatively with bar, spot, and random-dot stimuli in chronically implanted owl monkeys with fixed gaze. A directionality index was computed to compare the responses to stimuli in the optimal direction with the responses to the opposing direction of movement. The greater the difference between opposing directions, the higher the index. MT cells had much higher direction indices to moving bars than cells in DL, DM, and M. A tuning index was computed for each cell to compare the responses to bars moving in the optimal direction, or flashed in the optimal orientation, with the responses in other directions or orientations within ± 90°. Cells in all four areas were more sharply tuned to the orientation of stationary flashed bars than to moving bars, although a few cells (9/92) were unresponsive in the absence of movement. DM cells tended to be more sharply tuned to moving bars than cells in the other areas. Directionality in DM, DL, and MT was relatively unaffected by the use of single-spot stimuli instead of bars; tuning in all four areas was broader to spots than bars. Moving arrays of randomly spaced spots were more strongly excitatory than bar stimuli for many neurons in MT (16/31 cells). These random-dot stimuli were also effective in M, but evoked no response or weak responses from most cells in DM and DL. The best velocities of movement were usually in the range of 10-100°/s, although a few cells (22/227), primarily in MT (14/69 cells), preferred higher velocities. Receptive fields of neurons in all four areas were much larger than striate receptive fields. Eccentricity was positively correlated with receptive-field size (r = 0.62), but was not correlated with directionality index, tuning index, or best velocity. The results support the hypothesis that there are specializations of function among the cortical visual areas.
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