Neuronal convergence in early contrast vision: binocular summation is followed by response nonlinearity and area summation

J Vis. 2009 Apr 6;9(4):7.1-16. doi: 10.1167/9.4.7.


We assessed summation of contrast across eyes and area at detection threshold (C(t)). Stimuli were sine-wave gratings (2.5 c/deg) spatially modulated by cosine- and anticosine-phase raised plaids (0.5 c/deg components oriented at +/-45 degrees ). When presented dichoptically the signal regions were interdigitated across eyes but produced a smooth continuous grating following their linear binocular sum. The average summation ratio (C(t1)/([C(t1+2)]) for this stimulus pair was 1.64 (4.3 dB). This was only slightly less than the binocular summation found for the same patch type presented to both eyes, and the area summation found for the two different patch types presented to the same eye. We considered 192 model architectures containing each of the following four elements in all possible orders: (i) linear summation or a MAX operator across eyes, (ii) linear summation or a MAX operator across area, (iii) linear or accelerating contrast transduction, and (iv) additive Gaussian, stochastic noise. Formal equivalences reduced this to 62 different models. The most successful four-element model was: linear summation across eyes followed by nonlinear contrast transduction, linear summation across area, and late noise. Model performance was enhanced when additional nonlinearities were placed before binocular summation and after area summation. The implications for models of probability summation and uncertainty are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Contrast Sensitivity / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Nonlinear Dynamics
  • Normal Distribution
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Stochastic Processes
  • Vision, Binocular / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*