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Human Factors and Behavioral Neurobiology

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The luminance and red-green chromatic detection mechanisms respond to, respectively, the sum and difference of the long-wave (L) and middle-wave (M) zone contrast signals. The most-detectable stimulus is not a small patch of luminance drifting grating, as suggested by others, but rather a small, foveal red-green chromatic flash. Even at the smallest test size examined, 2.3' diameter, the red-green mechanism i~s more sensitive than the luminance mechanism, which has profound implication for visual physiology. When a suprathreshold luminance flash (a pedestal) occurs coincidentally with a red-green chromatic flash, detection of color is facilitated ~2-fold, regardless of spot size, as shown by forced-choice results, and this constant facilitation contrasts with the much larger facilitation reported earlier for small flashes. The lack of chromatic masking by suprathreshold luminance pedestals supports the view of separable luminance and red-green detectors.

Isolation of the red-green mechanism with large test flashes on different colored backgrounds showed that the red-green mechanism responds to an equally-weighted difference of L and M cone contrast on each background. Even for fields as low as 400 trolands, sensitivity is controlled by cone-selective adaptation (as well as second-site adaptation), which is surprising in view of recent physiological recordings suggesting that light adaptation in cones is insignificant below 2000 trolands.

Motion mechanisms receiving L and M cone signals were studied with 1 cpd, flickering and drifting gratings. At low velocity, a spectrally-opponent (SPO) motion mechanism is more sensitive than the luminance (LUM) mechanism, which summates L and M signals. The SPO mechanism has equal L and M contrast weights at low velocity but is L-cone dominated at intermediate and high velocity, whereas the LUM mechanism shows the reverse pattern of weights. The SPO motion mechanism appears distinct frown a red-green hue mechanism, for the latter has balanced L and M inputs at all temporal frequencies. The two motion mechanisms can be distinguished by the relative phase shifts of the L and M inputs: large shifts are seen for the LUM mechanism at intermediate frequency (4-9 Hz), where SPO shows very little shifts.


Bolling AFB, D.C.

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AFOSR Grant No. AFOSR-89-0304

Additional Information

Dr. Chaparro was not affiliated with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University at the time this report was published.