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J Physiol. 1973 Jun;231(3):385-402.

Separate channels for the analysis of the shape and the movement of moving visual stimulus.


1. The effects of temporal modulation on the properties of spatial frequency channels have been investigated using adaptation.2. Adapting to drifting sinusoidal gratings caused threshold elevation that was both spatial frequency and direction specific. Little systematic difference was found between the band widths of the elevation curves for drifting and stationary gratings.3. It was confirmed that adaptation fails to reveal channels at low spatial frequencies when stationary gratings are used. However, channels were revealed at frequencies at least as low as 0.66 c/deg when the test gratings were made to move. These channels are adapted only a little by stationary gratings, confirming their dependence on movement.4. The existence of movement-sensitive channels at low spatial frequencies explains the well known observation that temporal modulation greatly increases the sensitivity of the visual system to low spatial frequencies.5. Temporal modulation was effective at revealing these channels only when the flicker or movement of the test patterns was apparent to the observer; only at low spatial frequencies did patterns, modulated at low rates, actually appear to be temporarily modulated at threshold. At higher spatial frequencies, they were indistinguishable from stationary patterns until the contrast was some way above the detection threshold.6. It is suggested, therefore, that the movement-sensitive channels are responsible for signalling the occurrence of movement; the channels at higher spatial frequencies give no information about temporal changes. These two systems of channels are compared to the Y- and X-cells respectively of the cat.

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