Modification of visual response properties in the superior colliculus of the golden hamster following stroboscopic rearing

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



The Journal of Physiology








1. Visual response properties of superior collicular neurones were investigated in golden hamsters reared from birth to adulthood in a stroboscopic environment. 2. In comparison to normally reared animals, there was a marked decrease in the incidence of directionally selective cells in the colliculus of the strobe‐reared hamsters. This effect was apparent when directional selectivity was determined by either the null criterion or a statistical measure. The reduction in directionally selective cells was found in both superficial and the deep layers of the colliculus. 3. Neurones in strobe‐reared hamsters also exhibited a different speed preference distribution from that obtained for normal animals, in that more cells in the restricted hamsters responded only to slow velocities, and less were broadly tuned with regard to the speed of moving stimuli. 4. In addition to the effects obtained in dynamic response properties, there were also changes in the static response properties of superior collicular neurones. These were an increase in the proportion of cells whose responses were not affected by changing the size of a stationary flashed stimulus, and a concomitant decrease in the number of cells demonstrating either partial or complete suppression when the size of a flashed stimulus exceeded the boundaries of the receptive field activating region. Furthermore, while all cells which responded to stationary stimuli in normal animals yielded only phasic responses to stimulus onset and/or offset, in the strobe‐reared hamsters eight cells were encountered which responded in a sustained fashion to stationary spots. 5. There was no indication of an increased responsivity in the restricted animals to strobe stimulation, even when a strobe rate identical to that employed in the rearing environment was employed. 6. The results were interpreted as indicating a disruption of normal visual functional organization in the hamster's superior colliculus by an aberrant visual input during development. © 1978 The Physiological Society

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