Temporal response properties to second-order visual stimuli in the LGN of cats

Pengjing Xu, Xiang Ye, Yifeng Zhou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Visual stimuli occurring naturally are rich in instances of objects delineated from the backgrounds only by differences in luminance, which is called first-order stimuli, as well as those defined by differences of contrast or texture, referred to as second-order stimuli. The neuronal mechanism for processing second-order stimuli is still unclear. In this study, we compared the responses of cat LGN (lateral geniculate nucleus) cells to second-order stimuli at five temporal frequencies to their responses to first-order stimuli. Our results showed that most LGN cells can be evoked by second-order stimuli, and their firing rates to second-order stimuli decreased relative to first-order stimuli as temporal frequency increased from 0.5 to 8 Hz; moreover the ratio of a nonlinear to linear factor had a higher value in the responses to second-order stimuli than to first-order stimuli. We also found that the responses of Y-cells to second-order stimuli were significantly higher than the responses of X-cells, suggesting the Y-cells have a more important role in the processing of second-order stimuli. All these results reveal that first-order and second-order signals might be processed in separate 'streams' of the visual system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2233-2239
Number of pages7
JournalChinese Science Bulletin
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Cat
  • FFT
  • First-order stimuli
  • LGN
  • Second-order stimuli
  • Temporal frequency
  • X/Y cell


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