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Daniela Petrova, G. Bruce Henning, Andrew Stockman; The temporal characteristics of the early and late stages of L- and M-cone pathways that signal brightness. Journal of Vision 2013;13(7):15. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/13.7.15.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Flickering 560-nm light appears brighter and less saturated than steady light of the same average intensity. The changes in appearance are consistent with the visual signal's being distorted at some nonlinear site (or sites) within the visual pathway at which new temporal components, not part of the original waveform, are produced. By varying the input stimulus to manipulate these new temporal components—called distortion products—and measuring our observers' sensitivity in detecting them, we derived the temporal attenuation characteristics of the early (prenonlinearity) and late (post-nonlinearity) stages of the L- and M-cone pathway that signals brightness. We found that the early stage acts like a band-pass filter peaking at 10–15 Hz with sensitivity losses at both lower and higher frequencies, whereas the late stage acts like a two-stage low-pass filter with a corner frequency near 3 Hz. Although brightness is often associated with the fast achromatic or luminance pathway, these filter characteristics, and particularly those of the late filter, are consistent with comparable features of the L-M chromatic pathway that produce mainly chromatic distortion products (Petrova, Henning, & Stockman, 2013). A plausible site for the nonlinearity is after surround antagonism from horizontal cells. Modeling suggested the form of the nonlinearity to be initially expansive but possibly with a hard limit at the highest input levels.
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