"concentric antagonistic areas seen in retinal and LGN receptive fields." (Source: Neuroscience: Exploring the brain)

So the receptive field of a ganglion cell is either ON or OFF center. What does this "antagonistic area" mean in the ganglion cell receptive field? ON and OFF center and ON and OFF surround receptive fields

I did not know that the surround can be called ON or OFF, I thought it was just the center. Doesn't the OFF and ON for the center stem out from depending whether the bipolar cell in the center is connected to the ganglion cell is either an ON or OFF bipolar cell? The photoreceptors in the surround are connected to the same bipolar cell (image below).

enter image description here

Image sources: https://azretina.sites.arizona.edu/node/241



1 Answer 1


Antagonistic means opposite/opposing.

The receptive fields have ON and OFF areas that oppose each other; that is, light on the surrounding area has opposite effect of light on the center.

It gets clumsy to always say "on-center off-surround" or "off-center on-surround" to describe bipolar cells or retinal ganglion cells, so when you hear "on" or "on-center" to describe one of these cells, this is just shorthand for "on-center off-surround".


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