How reliably do action potentials in cortical neurons encode information about a visual stimulus? Most physiological studies do not weigh the occurrences of particular action potentials as significant but treat them only as reflections of average neuronal excitation. We report that single neurons recorded in a previous study by Newsome et al. (1989; see also Britten et al. 1992) from cortical area MT in the behaving monkey respond to dynamic and unpredictable motion stimuli with a markedly reproducible temporal modulation that is precise to a few milliseconds. This temporal modulation is stimulus dependent, being present for highly dynamic random motion but absent when the stimulus translates rigidly.

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