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Journal of the Optical Society of America A

Journal of the Optical Society of America A


  • Vol. 17, Iss. 3 — Mar. 1, 2000
  • pp: 635–640

Cost of cone coupling to trichromacy in primate fovea

Andrew Hsu, Robert G. Smith, Gershon Buchsbaum, and Peter Sterling  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA A, Vol. 17, Issue 3, pp. 635-640 (2000)

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Cone synaptic terminals couple electrically to their neighbors. This reduces the amplitude of temporally uncorrelated voltage differences between neighbors. For an achromatic stimulus coarser than the cone mosaic, the uncorrelated voltage difference between neighbors represents mostly noise; so noise is reduced more than the signal. Here coupling improves signal-to-noise ratio and enhances contrast sensitivity. But for a chromatic stimulus the uncorrelated voltage difference between neighbors of different spectral type represents mostly signal; so signal would be reduced more than the noise. This cost of cone coupling to encoding chromatic signals was evaluated using a compartmental model of the foveal cone array. When cones sensitive to middle (M) and long (L) wavelengths alternated regularly, and the conductance between a cone and all of its immediate neighbors was 1000 pS (∼2 connexons/cone pair), coupling reduced the difference between the L and M action spectra by nearly fivefold, from about 38% to 8%. However, L and M cones distribute randomly in the mosaic, forming small patches of like type, and within a patch the responses to a chromatic stimulus are correlated. In such a mosaic, coupling still reduced the difference between the L and M action spectra, but only by 2.4-fold, to about 18%. This result is independent of the L/M ratio. Thus “patchiness” of the L/M mosaic allows cone coupling to improve achromatic contrast sensitivity while minimizing the cost to chromatic sensitivity.

© 2000 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(330.0330) Vision, color, and visual optics : Vision, color, and visual optics
(330.1720) Vision, color, and visual optics : Color vision
(330.4060) Vision, color, and visual optics : Vision modeling
(330.4270) Vision, color, and visual optics : Vision system neurophysiology
(330.5310) Vision, color, and visual optics : Vision - photoreceptors
(330.5510) Vision, color, and visual optics : Psychophysics
(330.6180) Vision, color, and visual optics : Spectral discrimination

Original Manuscript: June 28, 1999
Revised Manuscript: November 11, 1999
Manuscript Accepted: November 17, 1999
Published: March 1, 2000

Andrew Hsu, Robert G. Smith, Gershon Buchsbaum, and Peter Sterling, "Cost of cone coupling to trichromacy in primate fovea," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 17, 635-640 (2000)

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