lateral inhibition


lateral inhibition
A simple form of information processing. The classic example is found in the eye, whereby ganglion cells are stimulated if photoreceptors in a well defined field are illuminated, but their response is inhibited if neighbouring photoreceptors are excited (an "on field/off surround" cell), or vice versa an "off field/on surround" cell. The effect of lateral inhibition is to produce edge- or boundary-sensitive cells, and to reduce the amount of information that is sent to higher centres; a form of peripheral processing.

Dictionary of molecular biology. 2004.

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