complex cell

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Any of a number of different types of neurons in the primary visual cortex (Area V1) in the occipital lobe of the brain, being the most common cell types in that region, responding maximally to stimuli in the form of lines, edges, and/or bars oriented at particular angles and moving at right-angles to their longitudinal axes or stationary anywhere in their receptive fields, their behaviour being impossible to explain by a straightforward subdivision of the receptive field into excitatory and inhibitory regions. The first complex cell was discovered in a cat's cerebral cortex in 1958 by the Canadian-born US neurophysiologist David H(unter) Hubel (born 1926) and his Swedish-born collaborator Torsten N(ils) Wiesel (born 1924). See also bar detector, edge detector, end-stopped receptive field, feature detector, hypercomplex cell, orientation-specific cell. Compare simple cell.

Subjects: Psychology.

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