Abstract

We measure threshold for a vertical test grating superimposed on a fixed-contrast horizontal background grating of the same spatial and temporal frequency. The rate of change of this threshold with increasing contrast of the background grating is a measure of the contrast gain of the responding mechanism. Large slopes (high contrast gains) occur when spatial frequency is low and temporal frequency is high; small slopes (low contrast gains) occur when both spatial and temporal frequencies are low and when spatial frequency is high. This division of the spatiotemporal frequency domain into low- and high-gain regions is consistent with the transient/sustained dichotomy found in previous psychophysical studies. Furthermore, our results suggest that the mechanism responsible for detecting low spatial frequencies has a gain characteristic similar to that of cat retina Y cells and that the mechanism responsible for detecting high spatial frequencies has a gain characteristic similar to that of cat retina X cells, as found by Shapley and Victor [ J. Physiol. (London) 285, 275– 298 ( 1978)].

© 1981 Optical Society of America

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  1. C. Enroth-Cugell and J. G. Robson, “The contrast sensitivity of retinal ganglion cells of the cat,” J. Physiol. (London) 187, 517–552 (1966).
  2. As defined in the physiological literature, the X–Y dichotomy is not synonymous with the transient/sustained dichotomy [see, for example, S. Hochstein and R. M. Shapley, “Quantitative analysis of retinal ganglion cell classifications,” J. Physiol. (London) 262, 237–264 (1976)]. However, psychophysical studies of such dichotomies are by no means sufficiently refined to make this subtle distinction. Consequently, we will assume that all such psychophysical studies are exploring a single dichotomy.
  3. J. J. Kulikowski, “Some stimulus parameters affecting spatial and temporal resolution of human vision,” Vision Res. 11, 83–90 (1971).
    [Crossref] [PubMed]
  4. J. J. Kulikowski and D. J. Tolhurst, “Psychophysical evidence for sustained and transient detectors in human vision,” J. Physiol. (London) 232, 149–162 (1973).
  5. B. G. Breitmeyer, “Simple reaction time as a measure of the temporal response properties of transient and sustained channels,” Vision Res. 15, 1411–1412 (1975).
    [Crossref] [PubMed]
  6. R. S. Harwerth and D. M. Levi, “Reaction time as a measure of suprathreshold grating detection,” Vision Res. 18, 1579–1586 (1978).
    [Crossref] [PubMed]
  7. A. Vassilev and D. Mitov, “Perception time and spatial frequency,” Vision Res. 16, 89–92 (1976).
    [Crossref] [PubMed]
  8. U. Lupp, G. Hauske, and W. Wolf, “Perceptual latencies to sinusoidal gratings,” Vision Res. 16, 969–972 (1976).
    [Crossref] [PubMed]
  9. D. J. Tolhurst, “Reaction times to the detection of gratings by human observers: a probabilistic mechanism,” Vision Res. 15, 1143–1149 (1975).
    [Crossref] [PubMed]
  10. P. E. King-Smith and J. J. Kulikowski, “Pattern and flicker detection analysed by subthreshold summation,” J. Physiol. (London) 249, 519–548 (1975).
  11. U. Keesey, “Flicker and pattern detection: comparison of thresholds,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. 62, 446–448 (1972).
    [Crossref] [PubMed]
  12. R. M. Shapley and J. D. Victor, “The effect of contrast on the transfer properties of cat retinal ganglion cells,” J. Physiol. (London) 285, 275–298 (1978).
  13. It could be that the contrast gain of a single physiological mechanism varies with the spatial frequency of the stimulus.
  14. F. W. Campbell and J. J. Kulikowski, “Orientational selectivity of the human visual system,” J. Physiol. (London) 187, 437–445 (1966).
  15. C. Blakemore and F. W. Campbell, “On the existence of neurones in the human visual system selectively sensitive to the orientation and size of retinal images,” J. Physiol. (London) 203, 237–260 (1969).
  16. M. Sachs, J. Nachmias, and J. Robson, “Spatial frequency channels in human vision,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. 61, 1176–1186 (1971).
    [Crossref] [PubMed]
  17. J. J. Kulikowski, R. Abadi, and P. E. King-Smith, “Orientation selectivity of grating and line detectors in human vision,” Vision Res. 13, 1479–1486 (1973).
    [Crossref] [PubMed]
  18. D. H. Hubel and T. N. Wiesel, “Receptive fields of single neurones in the cat’s striate cortex,” J. Physiol. (London) 160, 229–289 (1959).
  19. D. H. Hubel and T. N. Wiesel, “Receptive fields, binocular interaction and functional architecture in the cat’s visual cortex,” J. Physiol. (London) 160, 106–154 (1962).
  20. D. H. Hubel and T. N. Wiesel, “Receptive fields and functional architecture in two nonstriate visual areas (18 and 19) of the cat,” J. Neurophysiol. 28, 229–289 (1965).
    [PubMed]
  21. D. H. Hubel and T. N. Wiesel, “Receptive fields and functional architecture of monkey striate cortex,” J. Physiol. (London) 195, 215–243 (1968).
  22. F. W. Campbell, G. F. Cooper, and C. Enroth-Cugell, “The spatial selectivity of the visual cells of the cat,” J. Physiol. (London) 203, 223–235 (1969).
  23. D. Rose and C. Blakemore, “An analysis of orientation selectivity in the cat’s visual cortex,” Exp. Brain Res. 20, 1–17 (1974).
    [Crossref] [PubMed]
  24. This software-oriented apparatus for visual psychophysics was developed at SRI International by D. H. Kelly and his collaborators starting in 1978. A more detailed description of the system is in preparation.
  25. For a discussion of this issue, see J. Nachmias and R. V. Sansbury, “Grating contrast: Discrimination may be better than detection,” Vision Res. 14, 1039–1042 (1974).
    [Crossref] [PubMed]
  26. To eliminate some of the effects of noise, only those contrasts larger than the largest one that failed to elevate the threshold were used in our calculations.
  27. G. E. Legge, “Sustained and transient mechanisms in human vision: Temporal and spatial properties,” Vision Res. 18, 69–81 (1978).
    [Crossref] [PubMed]
  28. This is clearly not true for spatial frequencies, which range about 10 times lower in the cat than in man [see, for example, F. W. Campbell, L. Maffei, and M. Piccolino, “The contrast sensitivity of the cat,” J. Physiol. (London) 229, 719–731 (1973)]. However, there is considerable reason to assume that temporal properties (e.g., neural time constants) are more similar than spatial properties for various mammalian species.
  29. This result does not necessarily imply that the Y system is responsible for the detection of the low spatial-frequency components of a complex visual scene.
  30. J. J. Kulikowski and A. Gorea, “Complete adaptation to patterned stimuli: a necessary and sufficient condition for Weber’s law for contrast,” Vision Res. 18, 1223–1227 (1978).
    [Crossref]
  31. I. Bodis-Wollner and C. D. Hendley, “On the separability of two mechanisms involved in the detection of grating patterns in humans,” J. Physiol. (London) 291, 251–263 (1979).

1979 (1)

I. Bodis-Wollner and C. D. Hendley, “On the separability of two mechanisms involved in the detection of grating patterns in humans,” J. Physiol. (London) 291, 251–263 (1979).

1978 (4)

R. M. Shapley and J. D. Victor, “The effect of contrast on the transfer properties of cat retinal ganglion cells,” J. Physiol. (London) 285, 275–298 (1978).

J. J. Kulikowski and A. Gorea, “Complete adaptation to patterned stimuli: a necessary and sufficient condition for Weber’s law for contrast,” Vision Res. 18, 1223–1227 (1978).
[Crossref]

R. S. Harwerth and D. M. Levi, “Reaction time as a measure of suprathreshold grating detection,” Vision Res. 18, 1579–1586 (1978).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

G. E. Legge, “Sustained and transient mechanisms in human vision: Temporal and spatial properties,” Vision Res. 18, 69–81 (1978).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

1976 (3)

A. Vassilev and D. Mitov, “Perception time and spatial frequency,” Vision Res. 16, 89–92 (1976).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

U. Lupp, G. Hauske, and W. Wolf, “Perceptual latencies to sinusoidal gratings,” Vision Res. 16, 969–972 (1976).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

As defined in the physiological literature, the X–Y dichotomy is not synonymous with the transient/sustained dichotomy [see, for example, S. Hochstein and R. M. Shapley, “Quantitative analysis of retinal ganglion cell classifications,” J. Physiol. (London) 262, 237–264 (1976)]. However, psychophysical studies of such dichotomies are by no means sufficiently refined to make this subtle distinction. Consequently, we will assume that all such psychophysical studies are exploring a single dichotomy.

1975 (3)

D. J. Tolhurst, “Reaction times to the detection of gratings by human observers: a probabilistic mechanism,” Vision Res. 15, 1143–1149 (1975).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

P. E. King-Smith and J. J. Kulikowski, “Pattern and flicker detection analysed by subthreshold summation,” J. Physiol. (London) 249, 519–548 (1975).

B. G. Breitmeyer, “Simple reaction time as a measure of the temporal response properties of transient and sustained channels,” Vision Res. 15, 1411–1412 (1975).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

1974 (2)

D. Rose and C. Blakemore, “An analysis of orientation selectivity in the cat’s visual cortex,” Exp. Brain Res. 20, 1–17 (1974).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

For a discussion of this issue, see J. Nachmias and R. V. Sansbury, “Grating contrast: Discrimination may be better than detection,” Vision Res. 14, 1039–1042 (1974).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

1973 (3)

This is clearly not true for spatial frequencies, which range about 10 times lower in the cat than in man [see, for example, F. W. Campbell, L. Maffei, and M. Piccolino, “The contrast sensitivity of the cat,” J. Physiol. (London) 229, 719–731 (1973)]. However, there is considerable reason to assume that temporal properties (e.g., neural time constants) are more similar than spatial properties for various mammalian species.

J. J. Kulikowski, R. Abadi, and P. E. King-Smith, “Orientation selectivity of grating and line detectors in human vision,” Vision Res. 13, 1479–1486 (1973).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

J. J. Kulikowski and D. J. Tolhurst, “Psychophysical evidence for sustained and transient detectors in human vision,” J. Physiol. (London) 232, 149–162 (1973).

1972 (1)

1971 (2)

M. Sachs, J. Nachmias, and J. Robson, “Spatial frequency channels in human vision,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. 61, 1176–1186 (1971).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

J. J. Kulikowski, “Some stimulus parameters affecting spatial and temporal resolution of human vision,” Vision Res. 11, 83–90 (1971).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

1969 (2)

C. Blakemore and F. W. Campbell, “On the existence of neurones in the human visual system selectively sensitive to the orientation and size of retinal images,” J. Physiol. (London) 203, 237–260 (1969).

F. W. Campbell, G. F. Cooper, and C. Enroth-Cugell, “The spatial selectivity of the visual cells of the cat,” J. Physiol. (London) 203, 223–235 (1969).

1968 (1)

D. H. Hubel and T. N. Wiesel, “Receptive fields and functional architecture of monkey striate cortex,” J. Physiol. (London) 195, 215–243 (1968).

1966 (2)

C. Enroth-Cugell and J. G. Robson, “The contrast sensitivity of retinal ganglion cells of the cat,” J. Physiol. (London) 187, 517–552 (1966).

F. W. Campbell and J. J. Kulikowski, “Orientational selectivity of the human visual system,” J. Physiol. (London) 187, 437–445 (1966).

1965 (1)

D. H. Hubel and T. N. Wiesel, “Receptive fields and functional architecture in two nonstriate visual areas (18 and 19) of the cat,” J. Neurophysiol. 28, 229–289 (1965).
[PubMed]

1962 (1)

D. H. Hubel and T. N. Wiesel, “Receptive fields, binocular interaction and functional architecture in the cat’s visual cortex,” J. Physiol. (London) 160, 106–154 (1962).

1959 (1)

D. H. Hubel and T. N. Wiesel, “Receptive fields of single neurones in the cat’s striate cortex,” J. Physiol. (London) 160, 229–289 (1959).

Abadi, R.

J. J. Kulikowski, R. Abadi, and P. E. King-Smith, “Orientation selectivity of grating and line detectors in human vision,” Vision Res. 13, 1479–1486 (1973).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Blakemore, C.

D. Rose and C. Blakemore, “An analysis of orientation selectivity in the cat’s visual cortex,” Exp. Brain Res. 20, 1–17 (1974).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

C. Blakemore and F. W. Campbell, “On the existence of neurones in the human visual system selectively sensitive to the orientation and size of retinal images,” J. Physiol. (London) 203, 237–260 (1969).

Bodis-Wollner, I.

I. Bodis-Wollner and C. D. Hendley, “On the separability of two mechanisms involved in the detection of grating patterns in humans,” J. Physiol. (London) 291, 251–263 (1979).

Breitmeyer, B. G.

B. G. Breitmeyer, “Simple reaction time as a measure of the temporal response properties of transient and sustained channels,” Vision Res. 15, 1411–1412 (1975).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Campbell, F. W.

This is clearly not true for spatial frequencies, which range about 10 times lower in the cat than in man [see, for example, F. W. Campbell, L. Maffei, and M. Piccolino, “The contrast sensitivity of the cat,” J. Physiol. (London) 229, 719–731 (1973)]. However, there is considerable reason to assume that temporal properties (e.g., neural time constants) are more similar than spatial properties for various mammalian species.

C. Blakemore and F. W. Campbell, “On the existence of neurones in the human visual system selectively sensitive to the orientation and size of retinal images,” J. Physiol. (London) 203, 237–260 (1969).

F. W. Campbell, G. F. Cooper, and C. Enroth-Cugell, “The spatial selectivity of the visual cells of the cat,” J. Physiol. (London) 203, 223–235 (1969).

F. W. Campbell and J. J. Kulikowski, “Orientational selectivity of the human visual system,” J. Physiol. (London) 187, 437–445 (1966).

Cooper, G. F.

F. W. Campbell, G. F. Cooper, and C. Enroth-Cugell, “The spatial selectivity of the visual cells of the cat,” J. Physiol. (London) 203, 223–235 (1969).

Enroth-Cugell, C.

F. W. Campbell, G. F. Cooper, and C. Enroth-Cugell, “The spatial selectivity of the visual cells of the cat,” J. Physiol. (London) 203, 223–235 (1969).

C. Enroth-Cugell and J. G. Robson, “The contrast sensitivity of retinal ganglion cells of the cat,” J. Physiol. (London) 187, 517–552 (1966).

Gorea, A.

J. J. Kulikowski and A. Gorea, “Complete adaptation to patterned stimuli: a necessary and sufficient condition for Weber’s law for contrast,” Vision Res. 18, 1223–1227 (1978).
[Crossref]

Harwerth, R. S.

R. S. Harwerth and D. M. Levi, “Reaction time as a measure of suprathreshold grating detection,” Vision Res. 18, 1579–1586 (1978).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Hauske, G.

U. Lupp, G. Hauske, and W. Wolf, “Perceptual latencies to sinusoidal gratings,” Vision Res. 16, 969–972 (1976).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Hendley, C. D.

I. Bodis-Wollner and C. D. Hendley, “On the separability of two mechanisms involved in the detection of grating patterns in humans,” J. Physiol. (London) 291, 251–263 (1979).

Hochstein, S.

As defined in the physiological literature, the X–Y dichotomy is not synonymous with the transient/sustained dichotomy [see, for example, S. Hochstein and R. M. Shapley, “Quantitative analysis of retinal ganglion cell classifications,” J. Physiol. (London) 262, 237–264 (1976)]. However, psychophysical studies of such dichotomies are by no means sufficiently refined to make this subtle distinction. Consequently, we will assume that all such psychophysical studies are exploring a single dichotomy.

Hubel, D. H.

D. H. Hubel and T. N. Wiesel, “Receptive fields and functional architecture of monkey striate cortex,” J. Physiol. (London) 195, 215–243 (1968).

D. H. Hubel and T. N. Wiesel, “Receptive fields and functional architecture in two nonstriate visual areas (18 and 19) of the cat,” J. Neurophysiol. 28, 229–289 (1965).
[PubMed]

D. H. Hubel and T. N. Wiesel, “Receptive fields, binocular interaction and functional architecture in the cat’s visual cortex,” J. Physiol. (London) 160, 106–154 (1962).

D. H. Hubel and T. N. Wiesel, “Receptive fields of single neurones in the cat’s striate cortex,” J. Physiol. (London) 160, 229–289 (1959).

Keesey, U.

King-Smith, P. E.

P. E. King-Smith and J. J. Kulikowski, “Pattern and flicker detection analysed by subthreshold summation,” J. Physiol. (London) 249, 519–548 (1975).

J. J. Kulikowski, R. Abadi, and P. E. King-Smith, “Orientation selectivity of grating and line detectors in human vision,” Vision Res. 13, 1479–1486 (1973).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Kulikowski, J. J.

J. J. Kulikowski and A. Gorea, “Complete adaptation to patterned stimuli: a necessary and sufficient condition for Weber’s law for contrast,” Vision Res. 18, 1223–1227 (1978).
[Crossref]

P. E. King-Smith and J. J. Kulikowski, “Pattern and flicker detection analysed by subthreshold summation,” J. Physiol. (London) 249, 519–548 (1975).

J. J. Kulikowski, R. Abadi, and P. E. King-Smith, “Orientation selectivity of grating and line detectors in human vision,” Vision Res. 13, 1479–1486 (1973).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

J. J. Kulikowski and D. J. Tolhurst, “Psychophysical evidence for sustained and transient detectors in human vision,” J. Physiol. (London) 232, 149–162 (1973).

J. J. Kulikowski, “Some stimulus parameters affecting spatial and temporal resolution of human vision,” Vision Res. 11, 83–90 (1971).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

F. W. Campbell and J. J. Kulikowski, “Orientational selectivity of the human visual system,” J. Physiol. (London) 187, 437–445 (1966).

Legge, G. E.

G. E. Legge, “Sustained and transient mechanisms in human vision: Temporal and spatial properties,” Vision Res. 18, 69–81 (1978).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Levi, D. M.

R. S. Harwerth and D. M. Levi, “Reaction time as a measure of suprathreshold grating detection,” Vision Res. 18, 1579–1586 (1978).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Lupp, U.

U. Lupp, G. Hauske, and W. Wolf, “Perceptual latencies to sinusoidal gratings,” Vision Res. 16, 969–972 (1976).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Maffei, L.

This is clearly not true for spatial frequencies, which range about 10 times lower in the cat than in man [see, for example, F. W. Campbell, L. Maffei, and M. Piccolino, “The contrast sensitivity of the cat,” J. Physiol. (London) 229, 719–731 (1973)]. However, there is considerable reason to assume that temporal properties (e.g., neural time constants) are more similar than spatial properties for various mammalian species.

Mitov, D.

A. Vassilev and D. Mitov, “Perception time and spatial frequency,” Vision Res. 16, 89–92 (1976).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Nachmias, J.

For a discussion of this issue, see J. Nachmias and R. V. Sansbury, “Grating contrast: Discrimination may be better than detection,” Vision Res. 14, 1039–1042 (1974).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

M. Sachs, J. Nachmias, and J. Robson, “Spatial frequency channels in human vision,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. 61, 1176–1186 (1971).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Piccolino, M.

This is clearly not true for spatial frequencies, which range about 10 times lower in the cat than in man [see, for example, F. W. Campbell, L. Maffei, and M. Piccolino, “The contrast sensitivity of the cat,” J. Physiol. (London) 229, 719–731 (1973)]. However, there is considerable reason to assume that temporal properties (e.g., neural time constants) are more similar than spatial properties for various mammalian species.

Robson, J.

Robson, J. G.

C. Enroth-Cugell and J. G. Robson, “The contrast sensitivity of retinal ganglion cells of the cat,” J. Physiol. (London) 187, 517–552 (1966).

Rose, D.

D. Rose and C. Blakemore, “An analysis of orientation selectivity in the cat’s visual cortex,” Exp. Brain Res. 20, 1–17 (1974).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Sachs, M.

Sansbury, R. V.

For a discussion of this issue, see J. Nachmias and R. V. Sansbury, “Grating contrast: Discrimination may be better than detection,” Vision Res. 14, 1039–1042 (1974).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Shapley, R. M.

R. M. Shapley and J. D. Victor, “The effect of contrast on the transfer properties of cat retinal ganglion cells,” J. Physiol. (London) 285, 275–298 (1978).

As defined in the physiological literature, the X–Y dichotomy is not synonymous with the transient/sustained dichotomy [see, for example, S. Hochstein and R. M. Shapley, “Quantitative analysis of retinal ganglion cell classifications,” J. Physiol. (London) 262, 237–264 (1976)]. However, psychophysical studies of such dichotomies are by no means sufficiently refined to make this subtle distinction. Consequently, we will assume that all such psychophysical studies are exploring a single dichotomy.

Tolhurst, D. J.

D. J. Tolhurst, “Reaction times to the detection of gratings by human observers: a probabilistic mechanism,” Vision Res. 15, 1143–1149 (1975).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

J. J. Kulikowski and D. J. Tolhurst, “Psychophysical evidence for sustained and transient detectors in human vision,” J. Physiol. (London) 232, 149–162 (1973).

Vassilev, A.

A. Vassilev and D. Mitov, “Perception time and spatial frequency,” Vision Res. 16, 89–92 (1976).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Victor, J. D.

R. M. Shapley and J. D. Victor, “The effect of contrast on the transfer properties of cat retinal ganglion cells,” J. Physiol. (London) 285, 275–298 (1978).

Wiesel, T. N.

D. H. Hubel and T. N. Wiesel, “Receptive fields and functional architecture of monkey striate cortex,” J. Physiol. (London) 195, 215–243 (1968).

D. H. Hubel and T. N. Wiesel, “Receptive fields and functional architecture in two nonstriate visual areas (18 and 19) of the cat,” J. Neurophysiol. 28, 229–289 (1965).
[PubMed]

D. H. Hubel and T. N. Wiesel, “Receptive fields, binocular interaction and functional architecture in the cat’s visual cortex,” J. Physiol. (London) 160, 106–154 (1962).

D. H. Hubel and T. N. Wiesel, “Receptive fields of single neurones in the cat’s striate cortex,” J. Physiol. (London) 160, 229–289 (1959).

Wolf, W.

U. Lupp, G. Hauske, and W. Wolf, “Perceptual latencies to sinusoidal gratings,” Vision Res. 16, 969–972 (1976).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Exp. Brain Res. (1)

D. Rose and C. Blakemore, “An analysis of orientation selectivity in the cat’s visual cortex,” Exp. Brain Res. 20, 1–17 (1974).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

J. Neurophysiol. (1)

D. H. Hubel and T. N. Wiesel, “Receptive fields and functional architecture in two nonstriate visual areas (18 and 19) of the cat,” J. Neurophysiol. 28, 229–289 (1965).
[PubMed]

J. Opt. Soc. Am. (2)

J. Physiol. (London) (13)

R. M. Shapley and J. D. Victor, “The effect of contrast on the transfer properties of cat retinal ganglion cells,” J. Physiol. (London) 285, 275–298 (1978).

C. Enroth-Cugell and J. G. Robson, “The contrast sensitivity of retinal ganglion cells of the cat,” J. Physiol. (London) 187, 517–552 (1966).

As defined in the physiological literature, the X–Y dichotomy is not synonymous with the transient/sustained dichotomy [see, for example, S. Hochstein and R. M. Shapley, “Quantitative analysis of retinal ganglion cell classifications,” J. Physiol. (London) 262, 237–264 (1976)]. However, psychophysical studies of such dichotomies are by no means sufficiently refined to make this subtle distinction. Consequently, we will assume that all such psychophysical studies are exploring a single dichotomy.

J. J. Kulikowski and D. J. Tolhurst, “Psychophysical evidence for sustained and transient detectors in human vision,” J. Physiol. (London) 232, 149–162 (1973).

F. W. Campbell and J. J. Kulikowski, “Orientational selectivity of the human visual system,” J. Physiol. (London) 187, 437–445 (1966).

C. Blakemore and F. W. Campbell, “On the existence of neurones in the human visual system selectively sensitive to the orientation and size of retinal images,” J. Physiol. (London) 203, 237–260 (1969).

D. H. Hubel and T. N. Wiesel, “Receptive fields and functional architecture of monkey striate cortex,” J. Physiol. (London) 195, 215–243 (1968).

F. W. Campbell, G. F. Cooper, and C. Enroth-Cugell, “The spatial selectivity of the visual cells of the cat,” J. Physiol. (London) 203, 223–235 (1969).

D. H. Hubel and T. N. Wiesel, “Receptive fields of single neurones in the cat’s striate cortex,” J. Physiol. (London) 160, 229–289 (1959).

D. H. Hubel and T. N. Wiesel, “Receptive fields, binocular interaction and functional architecture in the cat’s visual cortex,” J. Physiol. (London) 160, 106–154 (1962).

P. E. King-Smith and J. J. Kulikowski, “Pattern and flicker detection analysed by subthreshold summation,” J. Physiol. (London) 249, 519–548 (1975).

This is clearly not true for spatial frequencies, which range about 10 times lower in the cat than in man [see, for example, F. W. Campbell, L. Maffei, and M. Piccolino, “The contrast sensitivity of the cat,” J. Physiol. (London) 229, 719–731 (1973)]. However, there is considerable reason to assume that temporal properties (e.g., neural time constants) are more similar than spatial properties for various mammalian species.

I. Bodis-Wollner and C. D. Hendley, “On the separability of two mechanisms involved in the detection of grating patterns in humans,” J. Physiol. (London) 291, 251–263 (1979).

Vision Res. (10)

J. J. Kulikowski and A. Gorea, “Complete adaptation to patterned stimuli: a necessary and sufficient condition for Weber’s law for contrast,” Vision Res. 18, 1223–1227 (1978).
[Crossref]

G. E. Legge, “Sustained and transient mechanisms in human vision: Temporal and spatial properties,” Vision Res. 18, 69–81 (1978).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

For a discussion of this issue, see J. Nachmias and R. V. Sansbury, “Grating contrast: Discrimination may be better than detection,” Vision Res. 14, 1039–1042 (1974).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

J. J. Kulikowski, R. Abadi, and P. E. King-Smith, “Orientation selectivity of grating and line detectors in human vision,” Vision Res. 13, 1479–1486 (1973).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

B. G. Breitmeyer, “Simple reaction time as a measure of the temporal response properties of transient and sustained channels,” Vision Res. 15, 1411–1412 (1975).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

R. S. Harwerth and D. M. Levi, “Reaction time as a measure of suprathreshold grating detection,” Vision Res. 18, 1579–1586 (1978).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

A. Vassilev and D. Mitov, “Perception time and spatial frequency,” Vision Res. 16, 89–92 (1976).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

U. Lupp, G. Hauske, and W. Wolf, “Perceptual latencies to sinusoidal gratings,” Vision Res. 16, 969–972 (1976).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

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[Crossref] [PubMed]

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[Crossref] [PubMed]

Other (4)

It could be that the contrast gain of a single physiological mechanism varies with the spatial frequency of the stimulus.

To eliminate some of the effects of noise, only those contrasts larger than the largest one that failed to elevate the threshold were used in our calculations.

This software-oriented apparatus for visual psychophysics was developed at SRI International by D. H. Kelly and his collaborators starting in 1978. A more detailed description of the system is in preparation.

This result does not necessarily imply that the Y system is responsible for the detection of the low spatial-frequency components of a complex visual scene.

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Figures (13)

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

Threshold elevation ratio for detection of a vertical grating in the presence of a horizontal grating of the same spatial and temporal frequency as a function of the contrast of the horizontal grating. All spatial frequencies were measured at 1 Hz. Triangles, 0.5 cycle/deg; circles, 4 cycles/deg; squares, 12 cycles/deg. The shaded area also includes the response curves for 0.25, 0.38, 0.5, 1, 4, 6, and 12 cycles/deg. (In this and subsequent figures, open symbols denote small slopes; see text.) Subject: GBK.

Fig. 2
Fig. 2

Like Fig. 1, but all spatial frequencies were measured at 1.4 Hz. Half-filled circles, 0.5 cycle/deg; open circles, 6 cycles/deg. Upper shaded area includes 0.25-, 0.38-, 0.5-, 1-, and 2-cycle/deg response curves. Lower shaded area includes 3-, 4-, 6-, and 12-cycle/deg response curves. (Half-filled symbols denote intermediate slopes, open symbols, small slopes; see text.) Subject: GBK.

Fig. 3
Fig. 3

All spatial frequencies at 2 Hz. Filled circles, 0.25 cycle/deg; filled squares, 0.5 cycle/deg; half-filled circles, 1 cycle/deg; half-filled squares, 2 cycles/deg; open circles, 4 cycles/deg. Envelope includes 3-, 4-, 6-, and 12-cycle/deg response curves. (Filled symbols denote large slopes, half-filled symbols, intermediate slopes, and open symbols, small slopes; see text.) Subject: GBK.

Fig. 4
Fig. 4

All spatial frequencies at 4 Hz. Filled circles, 1 cycle/deg; open circles, 8 cycles/deg. Upper envelope includes 0.25-, 0.5-, 1-, and 2-cycle/deg response curves. Lower envelope includes 6-, 8-, and 12-cycle/deg response curves. (Filled symbols denote large slopes; open symbols, small slopes.) Subject: GBK.

Fig. 5
Fig. 5

All spatial frequencies at 10 Hz. Filled circles, 1 cycle/deg; open circles, 4 cycles/deg. Upper envelope includes 0.25-, 0.5-, 1-, and 2 cycle/deg response curves. Lower envelope includes 4-, 6-, and 12-cycle/deg response curves. (Filled symbols denote large slopes; open symbols, small slopes.) Subject: GBK.

Fig. 6
Fig. 6

All spatial frequencies at 15 Hz. Filled squares, 0.25 cycle/deg; filled circles, 2 cycles/deg; open squares, 3 cycles/deg; open circles, 4 cycles/deg. (Filled symbols denote large slopes; open symbols, small slopes.) Subject: GBK.

Fig. 7
Fig. 7

All spatial frequencies at 30 Hz. Filled circles, 0.5 cycle/deg; filled squares, 1 cycle/deg; half-filled circles, 2 cycles/deg; open circles, 4 cycles/deg. (Filled symbols denote large slopes; half-filled symbols, intermediate slopes; open symbols, small slopes.) Subject: GBK.

Fig. 8
Fig. 8

General features of response curves obtained. At low background contrast levels, no effect (or enhancement) occurs. At higher levels of background contrast, there is a masking effect that is roughly linear with background contrast.

Fig. 9
Fig. 9

Summary of results for subject GBK. Large, intermediate, and small contrast effects are mapped in the spatiotemporal frequency domain. Filled symbols denote large slopes; half-filled symbols, intermediate slopes; and open symbols, small slopes. The shading and boundary lines indicate the high-, intermediate-, and low-gain regions predicted by various psychophysical studies of transient and sustained mechanisms and by physiological studies on the cat (see text).

Fig. 10
Fig. 10

Summary of results for subject CAB. Notation as in Fig. 9.

Fig. 11
Fig. 11

Thresholds for detecting a vertical grating after adaptation to a horizontal grating of the same temporal and spatial frequency (adapted condition, filled symbols) or after adaptation to a uniform field (unadapted condition, open symbols).

Fig. 12
Fig. 12

Slope of the threshold elevation versus background contrast curve as a function of the spatial frequency of the orthogonal background grating. Each curve represents a fixed spatial frequency of the test grating. The frequency of the test grating is indicated by a symbol with an arrow below the curve. All data were taken at 1 Hz. Symbols in Fig. 12(a): open squares, 2 cycles/deg; filled circles, 4 cycles/deg. Symbols in Fig. 12(b): filled circles, 0.5 cycle/deg; open squares, 6 cycles/deg.

Fig. 13
Fig. 13

Same as Fig. 12, but at a temporal frequency of 4 Hz. Filled circles, 0.5 cycle/deg; open squares, 4 cycles/deg.

Tables (1)

Tables Icon

Table 1 Unmasked Thresholds for Subject GBK