Population responses in V1 encode different figures by response amplitude

Ariel Gilad, Hamutal Slovin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The visual system simultaneously segregates between several objects presented in a visual scene. The neural code for encoding different objects or figures is not well understood. To study this question, we trained two monkeys to discriminate whether two elongated bars are either separate, thus generating two different figures, or connected, thus generating a single figure. Using voltage-sensitive dyes, we imaged at high spatial and temporal resolution V1 population responses evoked by the two bars, while keeping their local attributes similar among the two conditions. In the separate condition, unlike the connected condition, the population response to one bar is enhanced, whereas the response to the other is simultaneously suppressed. The response to the background remained unchanged between the two conditions. This divergent pattern developed ∼200 ms poststimulus onset and could discriminate well between the separate and connected single trials. The stimulus separation saliency and behavioral report were highly correlated with the differential response to the bars. In addition, the proximity and/or the specific location of the connectors seemed to have only a weak effect on this late activity pattern, further supporting the involvement of top-down influences. Additional neural codes were less informative about the separate and connected conditions, with much less consistency and discriminability compared with a response amplitude code. We suggest that V1 is involved in the encoding of each figure by different neuronal response amplitude, which can mediate their segregation and perception.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)6335-6349
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number16
StatePublished - 22 Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 the authors.


  • Amplitude code
  • Behaving monkeys
  • Figure ground
  • Object representation
  • Primary visual cortex
  • Voltage-sensitive dye imaging


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