The purpose of our experiments was to estimate basic sensitivity to motion gradients and to evaluate the evidence for second-order integration and differentiation of motion signals. We measured sensitivity to spatially sinusoidal contrast modulation between two oppositely moving bandpass-filtered noise images. The motion-contrast sensitivity function, defined as the inverse of threshold modulation amplitude as a function of modulation spatial frequency, was bandpass in shape with declines at both highest and lowest frequencies. The functions for three noise spatial frequencies had approximately the same shape when modulation frequency was expressed as a fraction of noise frequency. We compared the data with a model in which linear motion filters, whose outputs are squared or rectified, are followed by a second stage of excitatory or inhibitory pooling. The data are consistent with a model in which (1) all excitatory pooling occurs at the linear stage and (2) the second stage contains a large inhibitory pooling area, with a radius approximately eight times that of the linear receptive field.
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