We have studied the development of orientation preference in ferret primary visual cortex at the single cell-level using conventional electrophysiological recording methods, and in activity maps across cortex using chronic optical imaging of intrinsic signals. We are currently testing how altered patterns of activity early in life may affect the emergence of orientation selectivity.
Our results, along with many studies in other laboratories, suggest that the organization of orientation preference may provide a framework which guides the developing organization of other cortical receptive field properties such as ocular dominance. Ongoing experiments designed to test this hypothesis will be discussed.
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