Neuroscience Animations

John H. Krantz, Hanover College,

Using the Media






Skin Senses

Statistical Concepts

Hanover College
Psychology Department

Lateral Inhibition in Ganglion Cells

Brief description and instructions (DRAFT):

Lateral inhibition is the concept where stimulation in two adjacent areas of a sensory receptor surface such as the retina work against each other.  If one area increase the firing rate of a cell, the other decreases it and the tend to cancel each other out.

In this applet, the left-hand side of the screen shows a center-surround receptive field representative of a retinal ganglion cell.  The right-hand side of the screen shows the firing rate of the cell under different conditions of stimulation possible in this applet.  The yellow horizontal line shows the background firing rate of the cell when it is not stimulated.  You can move a white field of light across the receptive field either with the slider at the bottom of the screen or by clicking and dragging the mouse across the left-hand side of the screen.  The position of the leading edge of this sheet is indicated by a vertical line on the right hand side of the graph.  The x-axis of this graph is the relative position of this edge (0 = left side; 1 = right side).  The direction and type of center-surround receptive field can be selected by menus below the right-hand side graph.

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.