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Emily C. Gelfand, Gregory D. Horwitz; Model of parafoveal chromatic and luminance temporal contrast sensitivity of humans and monkeys. Journal of Vision 2018;18(12):1. doi: 10.1167/18.12.1.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Rhesus monkeys are a valuable model for studies of primate visual contrast sensitivity. Their visual systems are similar to that of humans, and they can be trained to perform detection tasks at threshold during neurophysiological recording. However, the stimulus dependence of rhesus monkey contrast sensitivity has not been well characterized. Temporal frequency, color, and retinal eccentricity affect the contrast sensitivity of humans in reasonably well-understood ways. To ask whether these factors affect monkey sensitivity similarly, we measured detection thresholds of two monkeys using a two-alternative, forced-choice task and compared them to thresholds of two human subjects who performed the same task. Stimuli were drifting Gabor patterns that varied in temporal frequency (1–60 Hz), L- and M-cone modulation ratio, and retinal eccentricity (2°–14° from the fovea). Thresholds were fit by a model that assumed a pair of linear detection mechanisms: a luminance contrast detector and a red-green contrast detector. Analysis of model fits indicated that the sensitivity of these mechanisms varied across the visual field, but their temporal and spectral tuning did not. Human and monkey temporal contrast sensitivity was similar across the conditions tested, but monkeys were twofold less sensitive to low-frequency, luminance modulations.
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