Development of Orientation and Ocular Dominance Columns in Infant Macaques

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 6 (NIPS 1993)

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Klaus Obermayer, Lynne Kiorpes, Gary Blasdel


Maps of orientation preference and ocular dominance were recorded optically from the cortices of 5 infant macaque monkeys, ranging in age from 3.5 to 14 weeks. In agreement with previous observations, we found that basic features of orientation and ocular dominance maps, as well as correlations between them, are present and robust by 3.5 weeks of age. We did observe changes in the strength of ocular dominance signals, as well as in the spacing of ocular dom(cid:173) inance bands, both of which increased steadily between 3.5 and 14 weeks of age. The latter finding suggests that the adult spacing of ocular dominance bands depends on cortical growth in neonatal animals. Since we found no corresponding increase in the spacing of orientation preferences, however, there is a possibility that the orientation preferences of some cells change as the cortical surface expands. Since correlations between the patterns of orientation selectivity and ocular dominance are present at an age, when the visual system is still immature, it seems more likely that their de(cid:173) velopment may be an innate process and may not require extensive visual experience.