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Daniel H. Baker, Tim S. Meese; Cross-orientation suppression occurs before binocular summation: Evidence from masking and adaptation. Journal of Vision 2006;6(6):821. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/6.6.821.
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The threshold elevation produced by a grating mask with very dissimilar orientation from a target is sometimes called cross-orientation suppression (XOS). Once thought to be a single process within visual cortex, recent single-cell studies suggest earlier processes specific to eye of origin (e.g. Li et al. 2005, J Neurophysiol, 94(2), 1645–1650). Here, we investigate interocular XOS psychophysically using 1c/deg horizontal test gratings and cross-oriented masks. Masking functions for monoptic and dichoptic masks did not superimpose when plotted against contrast (0%–45%@200ms; Experiment 1) or duration (25–400ms@45%; Experiment 2). For example, monoptic XOS decreased and dichoptic XOS increased, as functions of duration. These results reject models in which XOS occurs only after binocular summation because such models predict that dichoptic and monoptic masking are identical. An unexpected finding was that a monoptic + dichoptic mask condition produced less masking than the dichoptic mask alone, suggesting interocular suppression of the mask components prior to dichoptic XOS. In Experiment 3, we found that dichoptic, but not monoptic, masking was reduced by adapting to the mask, consistent with cat physiology and a cortical locus for dichoptic masking. We propose a quantitative model of all our data where XOS is: (i) non-adaptable (and possibly precortical) for the monoptic case and (ii) adaptable (and presumably cortical) for the dichoptic case. This model also explains the finding that binocular XOS does not adapt (Foley & Chen, 1997, Vis Res, 37(19), 2779–2788) because in that condition, the adaptable contribution to XOS is negligible due to the interocular suppression described above.
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