Neuroscience Animations

John H. Krantz, Hanover College,

Using the Media






Skin Senses

Statistical Concepts

Hanover College
Psychology Department

Ganglion Cells

Brief description and instructions (DRAFT):

This applet simulates the behavior of retinal ganglion cells as discovered by Kuffler (1953).  The black area on the left-hand side of the screen represents a region of the retina that you can stimulate with a white dot.  You can move the white dot with the sliders around the black area or by clicking in the area or by dragging your  mouse int he area. 

The right hand part of the screen is a bar graph showing the current firing rate of the cell.  When there is no stimulus, there is the background firing rate.  Your task is to find where the placement of the stimulus will change the cell's firing rate from this background level.  Where the firing rate increases, press the + button at the bottom of the retinal area and a green + will be put where the white dot is.  If the firing rate goes below the background firing rate, press the - button at the bottom of the screen and a red - will be put where the white dot is.  If you hit the wrong button you can remove the last + or - you put on the screen by hitting the Remove Last button.  When you have added several +'s and -'s you can press the Show Cell button to see the receptive field of this retinal ganglion cell.  Pressing the New Cell button below the graph on the right clears the retinal area and selection a new retinal ganglion cell.

Click here to open the applet.  It will open a new window that will fill your screen.


Kuffler, S. W. (1953). Discharge patterns and functional organization of mammalian retina. Journal of Neurophysiology, 16, 37-68.