On the relationship between interocular suppression in the primary visual cortex and binocular rivalry

Brain and Mind 2 (1):39-54 (2001)
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Both classical psychophysical work and recentfunctional imaging studies have suggested acritical role for the primary visual cortex(V1) in resolving the perceptual ambiguitiesexperienced during binocular rivalry. Here weexamine, by means of single-cell recordings andoptical imaging of intrinsic signals, thespatial characteristics of suppression elicitedby rival stimuli in cat V1. We find that the interocular suppression field of V1 neuronsis centred on the same position in space and isslightly larger (by a factor of 1.3) than theminimum response field, measured through thesame eye. Suppression is always strongest at asingle position corresponding very closely tothe centre of the classical receptive field,and reduces responses through the other eye byup to 90% but typically around 40%. Thespatial pattern of interocular suppression, asrevealed by optical imaging, closely matchesthe cortical representation of the stimulus,which is being suppressed, both in terms of itsorientation and the eye of origin. Theseresults indicate that interocular suppressionis directly related to the functionalarchitecture of V1; it is probably caused bydirect inhibitory interactions betweenneighbouring cortical columns of oppositeocular dominance.



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