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Rémy Allard, Angelo Arleo; Factorizing the motion sensitivity function into equivalent input noise and calculation efficiency. Journal of Vision 2017;17(1):17. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/17.1.17.
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The photopic motion sensitivity function of the energy-based motion system is band-pass peaking around 8 Hz. Using an external noise paradigm to factorize the sensitivity into equivalent input noise and calculation efficiency, the present study investigated if the variation in photopic motion sensitivity as a function of the temporal frequency is due to a variation of equivalent input noise (e.g., early temporal filtering) or calculation efficiency (ability to select and integrate motion). For various temporal frequencies, contrast thresholds for a direction discrimination task were measured in presence and absence of noise. Up to 15 Hz, the sensitivity variation was mainly due to a variation of equivalent input noise and little variation in calculation efficiency was observed. The sensitivity fall-off at very high temporal frequencies (from 15 to 30 Hz) was due to a combination of a drop of calculation efficiency and a rise of equivalent input noise. A control experiment in which an artificial temporal integration was applied to the stimulus showed that an early temporal filter (generally assumed to affect equivalent input noise, not calculation efficiency) could impair both the calculation efficiency and equivalent input noise at very high temporal frequencies. We conclude that at the photopic luminance intensity tested, the variation of motion sensitivity as a function of the temporal frequency was mainly due to early temporal filtering, not to the ability to select and integrate motion. More specifically, we conclude that photopic motion sensitivity at high temporal frequencies is limited by internal noise occurring after the transduction process (i.e., neural noise), not by quantal noise resulting from the probabilistic absorption of photons by the photoreceptors as previously suggested.
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