The perception of a visual contour depends on the spatial and temporal context in which it is viewed. Interactions between visual contours are believed to underlie a wide range of perceptual phenomena, including geometric illusions and aftereffects, contrast adaptation, and visual masking. The physiological mechanisms that might underlie such interactions were studied in the visual cortex of the cat by recording responses of single neurons to pairs of brief stationary stimuli that were separated in time. The results revealed a long-lasting, orientation-selective suppression, termed “paired-pulse suppression,” which was strongest at the cell's preferred orientation, but which was more broadly tuned for orientation than the excitatory response of the cell. Although the strength and duration of the suppression varied widely, some degree of response reduction was present in most cells studied. The function of this suppression may be to regulate the gain with which visual inputs are transmitted to cortical neurons, thus preventing response saturation and positive feedback.