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Andrew Stockman, G. Bruce Henning, Sharif Anwar, Robert Starba, Andrew T. Rider; Delayed cone-opponent signals in the luminance pathway. Journal of Vision 2018;18(2):6. doi: 10.1167/18.2.6.
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Cone signals in the luminance or achromatic pathway were investigated by measuring how the perceptual timing of M- or L-cone-detected flicker depended on temporal frequency and chromatic adaptation. Relative timings were measured, as a function of temporal frequency, by superimposing M- or L-cone-isolating flicker on “equichromatic” flicker (flicker of the same wavelength as the background) and asking observers to vary contrast and phase to cancel the perception of flicker. Measurements were made in four observers on up to 35 different backgrounds varying in wavelength and radiance. Observers showed substantial perceptual delays or advances of L- and M-cone flicker that varied systematically with cone class, background wavelength, and radiance. Delays were largest for M-cone-isolating flicker. Although complex, the results can be characterised by a surprisingly simple model in which the representations of L- and M-cone flicker are comprised not only of a fast copy of the flicker signal, but also of a slow copy that is delayed by roughly 30 ms and varies in strength and sign with both background wavelength and radiance. The delays, which are too large to be due to selective cone adaptation by the chromatic backgrounds, must arise postreceptorally. Clear evidence for the slow signals can also be found in physiological measurements of horizontal and magnocellular ganglion cells, thus placing the origin of the slow signals in the retina—most likely in an extended horizontal cell network. Luminance-equated stimuli chosen to isolate chromatic channels may inadvertently generate slow signals in the luminance channel.
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