The activity of single neurons was recorded in the tail of the caudate nucleus and adjoining part of the ventral putamen, which receive projections from the inferior temporal visual cortex, in order to investigate the functions of these regions. Of 195 neurons analyzed in two macaque monkeys, 109 (56%) responded to visual stimuli, with latencies of 90-150 ms for the majority of the neurons. The neurons responded to a limited range of complex visual stimuli, and in some cases responded to simpler stimuli such as bars and edges. Typically (in 75 % of cases) the neurons habituated rapidly, within 1~8 exposures, to each visual stimulus, but remained responsive to other visual stimuli with a different pattern. This habituation was orientation specific, in that the neurons responded to the same pattern shown in an orthogonal orientation. The habituation was also relatively short-term, in that at least partial dishabituation to one stimulus could be produced by a single intervening presentation of a different visual stimulus. These neurons were relatively unresponsive in a visual discrimination task, having habituated to the stimuli which had been presented in the task on many previous trials. It is suggested on the basis of these results and other studies that these neurons are involved in pattern-specific habituation to repeated visual stimuli, and in attention an orientation to a changed visual stimulus pattern. Changes in attention and orientation to stimuli as a result of damage to the striatum and its afferent and efferent pathways may arise in part because of damage to neurons with responses of this type
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