Any given region of the cerebral cortex gets multiple inputs, and how these inputs are combined or selected is a key component of cortical function. Experiments in brain slices or other reduced preparations have shown that excitatory inputs to cortex produce a delayed feed-forward inhibition, which suggests that the relative timing of inputs at the scale of tens of milliseconds is crucial to cortical operation. Other mechanisms, such as synaptic depression and feedback inhibition, have also been shown to produce strong effects on this timescale. Thus, the relative timing of inputs should be fundamental in determining how a given region of cortex selects or combines its inputs. A rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta) was trained to fixate on a spot of light for juice reward. Isolated single units in visual cortical area V4 were recorded using standard microelectrode techniques. Two visual stimuli were positioned such that each alone elicited a strong response. The stimuli were presented both separately and in combination, and their contrast and relative onset timing were varied. In general, the response of each neuron to two stimuli was locked to the response to that single stimulus that produced the shortest latency. A partial exception was that the responses to low-contrast stimuli were often less effective at suppressing later-arriving responses to high-contrast stimuli. The presentation of two stimuli in the receptive field of a visual cortical neuron is proposed as a model system for how changes in the relative timing of inputs affect cortical function in the intact system. © 2008 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.