Previous studies indicate that cortical areas 17 and 18 play a prominent role in generating the direction selectivities of neurons in the superior colliculus of the cat. This hypothesis was tested by quantifying the activities of neurons in the superficial collicular layers in intact cats and cats which incurred ablation of areas 17 and 18 and part of area 19. In addition, since behavioral and anatomical studies suggest a functional adjustment in the superior colliculus following removal of inputs from areas 17, 18, and 19 in the neonatal cat, we included a group of neonatally lesioned cats. Computation of an index of directionality indicated that the majority of neurons in intact cats preferred movement in one direction, thus confirming reports of others. Following ablation of areas 17 and 18 and part of area 19 in both groups of lesioned cats, only modest changes in the population indices were detected when poorly responsive neurons were eliminated from the analyses. Based upon levels of visually evoked neuronal activity, our data suggest a physiological compensation by neurons in stratum griseum superficiale following removal of areas 17, 18, and 19 inputs. In the intact and neonatally operated groups, activity in stratum griseum superficiale is high, whereas in the adult lesioned group activity is low. In stratum opticum, neuronal activity was similar in all three groups of cats. These results show that neurons in stratum griseum superficiale undergo a physiological compensation following removal of immature areas 17 and 18.