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Jan Kremers, Vladislav Kozyrev, Luiz Carlos L. Silveira, Bjørg Elisabeth Kilavik; Lateral interactions in the perception of flicker and in the physiology of the lateral geniculate nucleus. Journal of Vision 2004;4(7):10. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/4.7.10.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The perception of flicker strength in a center stimulus can be affected by the presence of a surrounding stimulus. We correlated this effect with the interactions between centers and surrounds of the receptive fields (RFs) of neurons in the retino-geniculate pathways. The responses of cells in the lateral genifculate nucleus (LGN) of two New World monkey species, the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus), and the owl monkey (Aotus azarae) were measured to two spatially non-overlapping sinusoidally modulating luminance stimuli of equal temporal frequency, one of which mainly stimulated the RF center, the other the RF surround. The relative temporal phase between the center and surround stimuli was varied. The response amplitude as a function of relative phase between the center and surround stimuli can be described by a simple model where the RF center and surround responses are vector-added. A minimal response was reached for stimuli in which the surround stimulus led the center stimulus, indicating that the RF surround response lagged the center response. The flicker strength in the center stimulus perceived by human observers was measured psychophysically. It was found that the perceived flicker strength could be described by the same function as was used for the cell data. There were qualitative similarities between the physiological and the psychophysical data, suggesting that the physiological basis of the psychophysically measured spatial interactions is present as early as the LGN. The data indicated the presence of a nonlinearity in center-surround interactions that is influenced by the stimulus contrast. The possible source of this nonlinearity was studied by comparing the center and the surround responses with those in which they were selectively stimulated.
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