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Journal of the Optical Society of America A

Journal of the Optical Society of America A

| OPTICS, IMAGE SCIENCE, AND VISION

  • Vol. 9, Iss. 11 — Nov. 1, 1992
  • pp: 1889–1904

Analysis of visual modulation sensitivity. V. Faster visual response for G- than for R-cone pathway?

Russell D. Hamer and Christopher W. Tyler  »View Author Affiliations


JOSA A, Vol. 9, Issue 11, pp. 1889-1904 (1992)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/JOSAA.9.001889


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Abstract

To determine the linear, unadapted responses of the cone pathways, we have measured the critical fusion frequency (CFF) for green (555-nm) and red (642-nm) flicker as a function of retinal illuminance. Both functions obeyed the Ferry–Porter law (CFF proportional to log illuminance) to high accuracy over a ≥5-log-unit range. In both foveola and periphery the CFF/illuminance functions were significantly steeper for green light than for red light. The peripheral 555-nm function had an average slope 1.26 times the average slope of the 642-nm function. An additive model of flicker detection could not account for the observed differences in slope. A threshold independence model, in which detection is based on the most sensitive mechanism, accurately fits the data. Whichever model is assumed, the presence of different slopes for the two wavelength flicker conditions strongly implies that the R- and G-cone pathways have different temporal properties. The occurrence of steeper CFF/illuminance slopes in response to green light implies that the linear (near-CFF) response of the G-cone pathways is inherently faster than that of the R-cone pathways at both retinal loci. These differences in R- and G-cone-mediated temporal properties complicate the fundamental concept of luminance and invalidate it for precise application over the full illuminance range.

© 1992 Optical Society of America

History
Original Manuscript: June 26, 1990
Revised Manuscript: July 9, 1992
Manuscript Accepted: July 3, 1992
Published: November 1, 1992

Citation
Russell D. Hamer and Christopher W. Tyler, "Analysis of visual modulation sensitivity. V. Faster visual response for G- than for R-cone pathway?," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 9, 1889-1904 (1992)
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/josaa/abstract.cfm?URI=josaa-9-11-1889


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  81. This empirical treatment of the data is not arbitrary. It is similar to a solution of the linear component of the Hodgkin–Huxley equation82 applied to photoreceptor dynamics, an n-pole filter of the form F(s)=A(n-1)!/(T+s)n, where sis complex frequency, nis the number of poles, and Aand Tare constants. The time constant Tis inversely proportional to the Ferry–Porter slope. This filter equation was fitted to the 555- and 642-nm data of Figs. 2 and 3, with n= 9 and with Tvalues derived from the average Ferry–Porter slopes in each case. Taking the inverse Laplace transform of the resulting frequency responses yields the nine-pole linear impulse responses shown in the left-hand portion of Fig. 8.
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  83. The use of the terms “direct” and “indirect” here seem to be somewhat anachronistic and misleading. Direct methods refer to brightness matches between spatially segregated fields that are, for practical purposes, not changing in time. Flicker photometry is termed an indirect method because the fields being equated are spatially contiguous but alternate in time. This distinction seems artificial. It is traditional to think of stimuli unchanging in time as probes of a single point on a temporal continuum. Wyszecki and Stiles55 suggest the use of the term “flicker brightness” to refer to that which is matched in indirect (flicker) methods of photometry. We might propose that stimuli matched by this method be called “equimodulant.” The concept of equimodulance explicitly includes a dependence on the temporal parameters of the stimuli but may be extended to zero frequency (i.e., the temporal domain of so-called direct measures).
  84. Kaiser85 has recently proposed the term “sensation luminance” or “s luminance” when an individual subject’s spectral sensitivity (as determined by HFP, for example) is the basis of a light measurement. The term “luminance” would be reserved strictly for the photometric units based on the CIE photopic luminous efficiency function. A well-calibrated photometer can measure luminance; however, s luminance, which is inherently subject dependent, must be measured by a suitable (i.e., one in which additivity holds) psychophysical technique. Thus, for example, a 570-nm reference stimulus at 10 cd/m2can be matched by HFP (or minimum distinct border) to a series of test spectral stimuli. These will then all be at the same s luminance for that subject, in this case 10 Ives/m2 (the unit Kaiser proposed for s luminances).Although the concept of s luminance is a sensible one, it does not solve the problem that we are addressing here, namely, that for an individual subject the shape of the spectral-sensitivity curve itself varies with the temporal frequency (and the mean retinal illuminance) used to measure it, because of the underlying differences between R- and G-cone temporal properties. Thus two stimuli that have been matched at 10 Ives/m2at a low temporal frequency will not match at a high frequency.
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  89. There are many methodological and empirical issues (e.g., retinal locus, temporal and spatial extent of the stimuli, isolation of scotopic versus photopic measures, threshold-measurement techniques, definition of standard observer) that require careful discussion when one is formulating a standardized protocol for absolute threshold measurements. However, such a discussion is beyond the scope of this paper.
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