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Darren Koenig, Heidi Hofer; The absolute threshold of cone vision. Journal of Vision 2011;11(1):21. doi: 10.1167/11.1.21.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
We report measurements of the absolute threshold of cone vision, which has been previously underestimated due to suboptimal conditions or overly strict subjective response criteria. We avoided these limitations by using optimized stimuli and experimental conditions while having subjects respond within a rating scale framework. Small (1′ fwhm), brief (34 ms), monochromatic (550 nm) stimuli were foveally presented at multiple intensities in dark-adapted retina for 5 subjects. For comparison, 4 subjects underwent similar testing with rod-optimized stimuli. Cone absolute threshold, that is, the minimum light energy for which subjects were just able to detect a visual stimulus with any response criterion, was 203 ± 38 photons at the cornea, ∼0.47 log unit lower than previously reported. Two-alternative forced-choice measurements in a subset of subjects yielded consistent results. Cone thresholds were less responsive to criterion changes than rod thresholds, suggesting a limit to the stimulus information recoverable from the cone mosaic in addition to the limit imposed by Poisson noise. Results were consistent with expectations for detection in the face of stimulus uncertainty. We discuss implications of these findings for modeling the first stages of human cone vision and interpreting psychophysical data acquired with adaptive optics at the spatial scale of the receptor mosaic.
Note: *Donner (1992), **Barlow (1958), †Barlow (1957) (cf. Schneeweis & Schnapf, 2000), ††Schneeweis and Schnapf (1999), ‡Baylor et al. (1984), ‡‡Schneeweis and Schnapf (2000). Parameters are arranged from least (top) to most (bottom) required assumptions. For example, total photons absorbed and S/N per receptor both require an assumed quantum efficiency range, but the latter also requires assumptions about summation time and area, and uncertainty—all assumptions are described in the text.
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