Published on behalf of the European Neuroscience Association by Oxford University Press
European Journal of Neuroscience vol:6 pages:1680-1690
We trained two rhesus monkeys in a task in which they had to judge whether or not two successively presented gratings differed in orientation. In a first experiment, we trained a monkey for only a restricted set of orientations and then recorded from the temporal cortical visual area (TE) while he made discriminations at trained and untrained orientations. Although this orientation-selective practice induced a marked anisotropy in his behavioural performance, this was not matched by a similar anisotropy in single-cell response properties. In a second experiment, we compared the response properties of TE cells in two monkeys before and after practice in the discrimination of small orientation differences. The training had no effect on either the responsiveness or the orientation tuning. We did, however, observe alterations in the pattern of response modulations induced by the behavioural context. However, these changes with practice, although present in both monkeys, were not consistent from animal to animal. The relevance of these findings for the functional significance of behavioural context dependencies of TE cells, as well as for the plasticity of TE responses, is discussed.