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Journal of the Optical Society of America A

Journal of the Optical Society of America A


  • Vol. 5, Iss. 8 — Aug. 1, 1988
  • pp: 1374–1378

Spectral sensitivity for flicker and acuity criteria

Carl R. Ingling, Jr. and Brian H.-P. Tsou  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA A, Vol. 5, Issue 8, pp. 1374-1378 (1988)

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Different channels in the visual system mediate the detection of flicker and the detection of high spatial frequencies. The magnocellular channel is optimized for flicker detection, whereas the parvocellular channel is optimized for color vision and spatial resolution. The spectral sensitivity of the magnocellular (flicker) channel is obtained by combining cone inputs in the ratio R/G = 5/3; the spectral sensitivity of the parvocellular channel is obtained with the ratio R/G = 2/3. However, when the parvocellular channel is used for resolution, the sensitivity changes from R/G = 2/3 to R/G = 5/3. By hypothesis, this occurs because only parvocellular centers resolve high spatial frequencies and because parvocellular centers are distributed in the same ratio as cones feeding magnocellular cells.

© 1988 Optical Society of America

Original Manuscript: July 27, 1987
Manuscript Accepted: March 15, 1988
Published: August 1, 1988

Carl R. Ingling and Brian H.-P. Tsou, "Spectral sensitivity for flicker and acuity criteria," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 5, 1374-1378 (1988)

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  1. We use the terms parvocellular and magnocellular in the manner of E. Kaplan, R. M. Shapley, “X and Y cells in the lateral geniculate nucleus of macaque monkeys,”J. Physiol. 330, 125–143 (1982). The primate magnocellular channel contains two populations of cells, both X and Y, apparently homologous with the X and Y cells of the cat. The parvocellular channel, although X-like, is a nonhomologous primate specialization, dominating the central fovea, composed of mostly type I simple-opponent units. [PubMed]
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