We investigated the influence of selective rod light and dark adaptation on cone-mediated sensitivity to monocular displays modulated sinusoidally in both spatial and temporal domains. Rod light adaptation (1) increased sensitivity to high spatial frequencies [ cycles per degree (cpd)] flickered slowly an effect that we refer to as grating suppressive rod–cone interaction (gSRCI); (2) increased sensitivity to low spatial frequencies flickered rapidly an effect that we refer to as flicker suppressive rod–cone interaction (fSRCI); and (3) had relatively little influence on intermediate temporal–spatial-frequency combinations. The magnitudes of both gSRCI and fSRCI increased as the retinal position of the test display was increasingly displaced parafoveally. In parafoveal retina, both forms of suppressive rod–cone interaction increased as the overall dimension of the test stimulus decreased. However, sensitivity to high spatial frequencies is equally well influenced by adaptation of the viewing and the contralateral eye, while the adapted state of the nonviewing eye negligibly influences sensitivity to rapid flicker. Moreover, gSRCI cannot be observed with a small (30-arcmin) grating restricted to the fovea, while fSRCI is a prominent effect with small foveal test stimuli. Collectively, these results and neurobiological evidence suggest that fSRCI reflects a mechanism restricted to distal retinal, while gSRCI involves extraretinal neural circuitry.
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