Neural receptive fields map the spatial or temporal distribution of the data to individual neuron excitation, if I understand correctly, but I do not understand if receptive fields (especially in the higher cognitive areas such as the various layers of the visual cortex, etc.) are:
Actual structural distributions of neurons that help map specific spatial or temporal properties of stimuli (such as concentric arrangement for contrast detection, rectangular arrangement for orientation detection, or movement detection, etc.), or,
Merely a mapping of the structure of the stimuli that can excite specific neurons.
If it's the latter, isn't it basically as simple as a pattern/feature/vector that individual neurons are sensitive to?