When cat V1/V2 cells are adapted to contrast at their optimal orientation, a reduction in gain and/or a shift in the contrast response function is found. We investigated how these factors combine at the population level to affect the accuracy for detecting variations in contrast. Using the contrast response function parameters from a physiologically measured population, we model the population accuracy (using Fisher information) for contrast discrimination. Adaptation at 16%, 32%, and 100% contrast causes a shift in peak accuracy. Despite an overall drop in firing rate over the whole population, accuracy is enhanced around the adapted contrast and at higher contrasts, leading to greater efficiency of contrast coding at these levels. The estimated contrast discrimination threshold curve becomes elevated and shifted toward higher contrasts after adaptation, as has been found previously in human psychophysical experiments.
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W. L. Makous
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