Ocular motility and recovery of orientational properties of visual cortical neurones in dark-reared kittens

Abstract

THE specific orientational properties of visual cortical neurones originally described by Hubel and Wiesel1 in adult cats have also been observed in normally reared kittens2–4. Such properties are lacking, however, in kittens reared in complete darkness for six weeks3–5. Three types of cells, specific, immature and nonspecific, have been defined by Imbert and Buisseret4 in kittens. In dark-reared (DR) kittens, a few hours of visual experience are sufficient to elicit a rapid increase in the proportion of orientation-specific cells3,5,6. We report here a series of experiments undertaken to determine the factors involved in the ‘reconstructive effect’7 of visual experience for cortical specificity, and show that oculomotor exploration, as well as visual input, is an essential factor.

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BUISSERET, P., GARY-BOBO, E. & IMBERT, M. Ocular motility and recovery of orientational properties of visual cortical neurones in dark-reared kittens. Nature 272, 816–817 (1978). https://doi.org/10.1038/272816a0

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