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Vision Res. 2000;40(18):2449-65.

ON and OFF S-cone pathways have different long-wave cone inputs.

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Department of Psychology, 125-NI, Northeastern University, 02115, Boston, MA, USA.


Three experiments compared thresholds for S-cone increments and decrements under steady and transient adaptation conditions, to investigate whether stimuli of both polarities are detected by the same cone-opponent psychophysical mechanism. The results could not be accounted for by a standard model of the S-cone detection pathway [Polden & Mollon (1980) Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, B, 210, 235-272]. In particular, a transient tritanopia detection paradigm that measured threshold elevation following the offset of long-wavelength fields produced different field sensitivities for S-cone increment and decrement tests. The decrement field sensitivity function was shifted to shorter wavelengths relative to the increment function. L-cone opponency is apparently stronger for S-cone increments than for decrements. The most plausible substrates of the two different psychophysical detection mechanisms are the ON and OFF channels. The results suggest that S-ON (bistratified) and S-OFF ganglion cells receive different relative amounts of L- and M-cone input.

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