direction-sensitive neuron

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A ganglion cell in the retina that is specialized to respond to movement in just one direction in the visual field and that underlies the image-retinal system. It is believed to receive excitatory signals from one or more photoreceptor cells and inhibitory signals from one or more others, the excitatory cells being positioned on the retina in front of the inhibitory cells, relative to the direction of movement that the direction-sensitive neuron is tuned to detect, so that when an image crosses the retina in that direction excitatory signals reach the direction-sensitive ganglion cell before inhibitory signals, and consequently the inhibitory signals fail to suppress the responses of the ganglion cells and the ganglion cells therefore fire, eliciting a perception of movement. Also called a direction-selective cell or a motion detector.

Subjects: Psychology.

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