Abstract

Colors defined by the two intermediate directions in color space, “orange–cyan” and “lime–magenta,” elicit the same spatiotemporal average response from the two cardinal chromatic channels in the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN). While we found LGN functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) responses to these pairs of colors were statistically indistinguishable, primary visual cortex (V1) fMRI responses were stronger to orange–cyan. Moreover, linear combinations of single-cell responses to cone-isolating stimuli of V1 cone-opponent cells also yielded stronger predicted responses to orange–cyan over lime–magenta, suggesting these neurons underlie the fMRI result. These observations are consistent with the hypothesis that V1 recombines LGN signals into “higher-order” mechanisms tuned to noncardinal color directions. In light of work showing that natural images and daylight samples are biased toward orange–cyan, our findings further suggest that V1 is adapted to daylight. V1, especially double-opponent cells, may function to extract spatial information from color boundaries correlated with scene-structure cues, such as shadows lit by ambient blue sky juxtaposed with surfaces reflecting sunshine.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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