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Two hundred and thirty-two visually activated neurones were recorded in a small area of the rostral pontine nuclei of cats. The location of visually activated neurones was coextensive with the input from visual areas of cat's cortex as determined by degeneration studies. 2. Pontine visual cells could only be driven by visual stimuli. Cells responsive to somatosensory or auditory stimuli were also found in different regions in rostral pontine nuclei. They too responded to only one modality. 3. 96% of the cells were directionally selective. 4. Pontine visual cells were responsive to a wide range of stimulus speeds. Some cells responded to targets moving as fast as 1000 degrees/sec without losing directional selectivity. No pontine visual cells gave a clearly sustained response to a stationary stimulus. 5. Exact stimulus configurations were not critical. Large fields containing many spots were the most effective stimuli for 50% of the cells. Inhibition of responses depending upon stimulus dimensions, direction of movement, or location in the visual field was found for many cells. 6. Receptive field dimensions were large, ranging in size from 3 degrees X 4 degrees to more than an entire hemifield. 7. 94% of the cells had receptive fields which were centred in the contralateral hemifield. 8. 98% of the cells could be driven from both eyes. 9. The properties of the pontine visual cells suggest a corticopontocerebellar pathway sensitive to a wide range of speeds and directions of movement, but not sensitive to precise form.

Original publication




Journal article


J Physiol

Publication Date





415 - 433


Action Potentials, Animals, Cats, Eye Movements, Neural Conduction, Neurons, Photic Stimulation, Pons, Vision, Ocular, Visual Cortex, Visual Fields