July 2019
Volume 19, Issue 8
Open Access
OSA Fall Vision Meeting Abstract  |   July 2019
Long term contrast adaptation in human vision
Author Affiliations
  • Steven Engel
    University of Minnesota, Department of Psychology
Journal of Vision July 2019, Vol.19, 5. doi:https://doi.org/10.1167/19.8.5
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      Steven Engel; Long term contrast adaptation in human vision. Journal of Vision 2019;19(8):5. https://doi.org/10.1167/19.8.5.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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In the visual system, neural function changes dramatically as people adapt to changes in their visual world. Most past work, however, has altered visual input only over the short-term, typically a few minutes. Our lab uses virtual reality displays to allow subjects to live in, for hours and days at a time, visual worlds with manipulations of image contrast that target known neural populations. One experiment, for example, removed vertical energy from the visual environment, effectively depriving orientation-tuned neurons of input. Results suggest that visual adaptation is surprisingly sophisticated: it has a memory that allows us to readapt more quickly to familiar environments, it acts simultaneously on multiple timescales, and it is sensitive to not only the benefits of plasticity, but also its potential costs. Current research is applying these lessons to studies of visual disorders.


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