A higher order visual neuron tuned to the spatial amplitude spectra of natural scenes

Olga Dyakova, Yu-Jen Lee, Kit Longden, Valerij Kiselev, Karin Nordstrom

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)


    Animal sensory systems are optimally adapted to those features typically encountered in natural surrounds, thus allowing neurons with limited bandwidth to encode challengingly large input ranges. Natural scenes are not random, and peripheral visual systems in vertebrates and insects have evolved to respond efficiently to their typical spatial statistics. The mammalian visual cortex is also tuned to natural spatial statistics, but less is known about coding in higher order neurons in insects. To redress this we here record intracellularly from a higher order visual neuron in the hoverfly. We show that the cSIFE neuron, which is inhibited by stationary images, is maximally inhibited when the slope constant of the amplitude spectrum is close to the mean in natural scenes. The behavioural optomotor response is also strongest to images with naturalistic image statistics. Our results thus reveal a close coupling between the inherent statistics of natural scenes and higher order visual processing in insects.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number8522
    Number of pages10
    JournalNature Communications
    Issue numberArticle: 8522
    Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2015


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