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Marcel Lucassen, Marc Lambooij, Dragan Sekulovski, Ingrid Vogels; Spatio-chromatic sensitivity explained by post-receptoral contrast. Journal of Vision 2018;18(5):13. doi: 10.1167/18.5.13.
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We measured and modeled visibility thresholds of spatial chromatic sine-wave gratings at isoluminance. In two experiments we manipulated the base color, direction of chromatic modulation, spatial frequency, the number of cycles in the grating, and grating orientation. In Experiment 1 (18 participants) we studied four chromatic modulation directions around three base colors, for spatial frequencies 0.15–5 cycles/deg. Results show that the location, size and orientation of fitted ellipses through the observer-averaged thresholds varied with spatial frequency and base color. As expected, visibility threshold decreased with decreasing spatial frequency, except for the lowest spatial frequency, for which the number of cycles was only three. In Experiment 2 (27 participants) we investigated the effect of the number of cycles at spatial frequencies down to 0.025 cycles/deg. This showed that the threshold elevation at 0.15 cycles/deg in Experiment 1 was at least partly explained by the small number of cycles. We developed two types of chromatic detection models and fitted these to the threshold data. Both models incorporate probability summation across spatially weighted chromatic contrast signals, but differ in the stage at which the contrast signal is calculated. In one, chromatic contrast is determined at the cone receptor level, the dominant procedure in literature. In the other model, it is determined at a postreceptoral level, that is, after cone signals have been transformed into chromatic-opponent channels. We applied Akaike's Information Criterion to compare the performance of the models and calculated their relative probabilities and evidence ratios. We found evidence in favor of the second model and conclude that postreceptoral contrast is the most accurate determinant for chromatic contrast sensitivity.
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