Neurons in Cat Primary Visual Cortex cluster by degree of tuning but not by absolute spatial phase or temporal response phase
Neighboring neurons in cat primary visual cortex (V1) have similar preferred orientation, direction, and spatial frequency. How diverse is their degree of tuning for these properties? Are they also clustered in their tuning for the spatial phase of a flashed grating ("absolute spatial phase") or the temporal phase of a drifting grating ("temporal response phase")? To address these questions, we used tetrode recordings to simultaneously isolate multiple cells at single recording sites and record
... their responses to flashed and drifting gratings of multiple orientations, spatial frequencies, and spatial/temporal phases. We recorded the responses of 761 cells presented with drifting gratings and 409 cells presented with flashed gratings. We found that orientation tuning width, spatial frequency tuning width and direction selectivity index all showed significant clustering. Absolute spatial phase and temporal response phase, however, showed no clustering. We also present an algorithm that improves the performance of spike-sorting algorithms, for use in analyzing cells recorded using tetrodes. A cluster of spikes corresponding to a putative cell obtained through automatic or manual spike sorting algorithms may contain spikes from other cells with similarly-shaped waveforms. Our algorithm preferentially removes contaminating spikes from other cells, thereby decreasing the level of contamination of each unit. We call this procedure "pruning", as it entails removing portions of the cluster that are determined to be more likely to contain contaminating spikes than the cluster as a whole. Testing of the algorithm on data in which "ground truth" is known shows excellent performance, for example on average giving a percentage reduction in false positive spikes 8.2 times the percentage reduction in true positive spikes, and reducing the degree of contamination by an average of about 13%.