The challenges natural images pose for visual adaptation

Neuron. 2009 Dec 10;64(5):605-16. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2009.11.028.


Advances in our understanding of natural image statistics and of gain control within the retinal circuitry are leading to new insights into the classic problem of retinal light adaptation. Here we review what we know about how rapid adaptation occurs during active exploration of the visual scene. Adaptational mechanisms must balance the competing demands of adapting quickly, locally, and reliably, and this balance must be maintained as lighting conditions change. Multiple adaptational mechanisms in different locations within the retina act in concert to accomplish this task, with lighting conditions dictating which mechanisms dominate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Ocular / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Neural Networks, Computer*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Psychophysics
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retina / physiology*
  • Sensory Thresholds
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiology
  • Visual Perception / physiology*