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R. J. Lee, J. D. Mollon, Q. Zaidi, H. E. Smithson; Latency characteristics of the short-wavelength-sensitive cones and their associated pathways. Journal of Vision 2009;9(12):5. doi: 10.1167/9.12.5.
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There are many distinct types of retinal ganglion and LGN cells that have opponent cone inputs and which may carry chromatic information. Of interest are the asymmetries in those LGN cells that carry S-cone signals: in S-ON cells, S+ signals are opposed by (L + M) whereas, in many S-OFF cells, L+ signals are opposed by (S + M), giving −S + L − M (C. Tailby, S. G. Solomon, & P. Lennie, 2008). However, the S-opponent pathway is traditionally modeled as ±[S − (L + M)]. A phase lag of the S-cone signal has been inferred from psychophysical thresholds for discriminating combinations of simultaneous sinusoidal modulations along ±[L − M] and ±[S − (L + M)] directions (C. F. Stromeyer, R. T. Eskew, R. E. Kronauer, & L. Spillmann, 1991). We extend this experiment, measuring discrimination thresholds as a function of the phase delay between pairs of orthogonal component modulations. When one of the components isolates the tritan axis, there are phase delays at which discrimination is impossible; when neither component is aligned with the tritan axis, discrimination is possible at all delays. The data imply that the S-cone signal is delayed by approximately 12 ms relative to (L − M) responses. Given that post-receptoral mechanisms show diverse tuning around the tritan axis, we suggest that the delay arises before the S-opponent channels are constructed, possibly in the S-cones themselves.
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