September 2021
Volume 21, Issue 9
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2021
Y-like human psychophysical responses to contrast modulated patterns
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Ana Leticia Ramirez Hernandez
    McGill University
  • Ari Rosenberg
    University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Curtis L. Baker
    McGill Vision Research Unit
  • Footnotes
    Acknowledgements  Canadian NSERC grant OPG0001978
Journal of Vision September 2021, Vol.21, 2230. doi:
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      Ana Leticia Ramirez Hernandez, Ari Rosenberg, Curtis L. Baker; Y-like human psychophysical responses to contrast modulated patterns. Journal of Vision 2021;21(9):2230.

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

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Cat Y-type retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and macaque parasol cells are distinguished by responding nonlinearly to high spatial frequencies (SFs) and temporal frequencies (TFs). However, the contribution of these RGCs to human visual perception are not well understood. Here we devised a psychophysical approach to reveal the function of human Y-like RGCs. We take advantage of the Y-like carrier response properties of cortical neurons to contrast modulated (CM) patterns which consist of a high SF contrast-reversing grating carrier whose contrast is modulated by a low SF drifting sinewave envelope (0.25 cpd, 3 Hz). In each stimulus trial, subjects reported the direction of motion of CM envelopes or luminance modulated (LM) gratings at 2.1, 4.3, 6.4, or 8.5 degrees of eccentricity. Within each block of trials, SF (for LMs) or carrier SF (for CMs) was varied with the method of constant stimuli for different values of TF (LMs) or carrier TF (CMs). We found that the best performance for LM patterns was at lower TFs (5-10 Hz) and at lower SFs, which decreased systematically with eccentricity. However, CM pattern performance was bandpass with carrier SF, displaying the best performance at 1.5-3.0 cpd, and high carrier TFs (15-20 Hz). At the highest carrier TF (20 Hz), performance did not decrease systematically with eccentricity. The nonlinear subunits of Y-type cells respond better at higher TFs than linear mechanisms respond to gratings. Therefore, the measured psychophysical performance for CM patterns is consistent with nonlinear subunits. Furthermore, the good performance at SFs that are high for peripheral vision and rather independent of eccentricity is more consistent with the responses of small nonlinear subunits than with linear mechanisms.


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