Mechanistic modeling of vertebrate spatial contrast sensitivity and acuity at low luminance

Jarvis, J. and Wathes, C.M. 2012. Mechanistic modeling of vertebrate spatial contrast sensitivity and acuity at low luminance. Visual Neuroscience. 29 (3), pp. 169-181. doi:10.1017/S0952523812000120

TitleMechanistic modeling of vertebrate spatial contrast sensitivity and acuity at low luminance
AuthorsJarvis, J. and Wathes, C.M.
Abstract

The validity of the Barten theoretical model for describing the vertebrate spatial contrast sensitivity function (CSF) and acuity at scotopic light levels has been examined. Although this model (which has its basis in signal modulation transfer theory) can successfully describe vertebrate CSF, and its relation to underlying visual neurophysiology at photopic light levels, significant discrepancies between theory and experimental data have been found at scotopic levels. It is shown that in order to describe scotopic CSF, the theory must be modified to account for important mechanistic changes, which occur as cone vision switches to rod vision. These changes are divided into photon management factors [changes in optical performance (for a dilated pupil), quantum efficiency, receptor sampling] and neural factors (changes in spatial integration area, neural noise, and lateral inhibition in the retina). Predictions of both scotopic CSF and acuity obtained from the modified theory were found to be in good agreement with experimental values obtained from the human, macaque, cat, and owl monkey. The last two species have rod densities particularly suited for scotopic conditions.

JournalVisual Neuroscience
Journal citation29 (3), pp. 169-181
ISSN1469-8714
YearMay 2012
PublisherCambridge University Press
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1017/S0952523812000120
Publication dates
PublishedMay 2012

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