The ability of two cats to discriminate between two geometrical outline patterns in the presence of superimposed Gaussian visual noise-i.e. in a binary detection task--was tested before and after bilateral removal of cortical areas 17, 18 and 19. The detection probability PD was measured as a function of the signal-to-noise ratio. After a lesion of areas 17, 18 and 19 both cats were unable to carry out the discrimination tasks. Their detection performance dropped to chance level, but after an extensive phase of retraining (3 months) they regained the ability to discriminate visual patterns. It was thus possible to obtain detection curves and to determine a measure of a performance which is predominantly bound to be mediated by extra-geniculo-cortical systems. The detection capacity was abnormally low with both large and small patterns. However, the detection of stationary small patterns was similar to the performance of cats with 17/18 lesions; the detection of stationary large patterns was only slightly better than the detection of small patterns and much worse than the comparable performance of cats with 17/18 lesions. Furthermore the cats with lesions of areas 17/18/19 were unable to discriminate moving patterns, their performances being at chance level, whereas for the cats with 17/18 lesions the detection of moving and stationary patterns was equal.
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