Rod suppression of cone-mediated information about colour and form during dark adaptation

Scand J Psychol. 1990;31(2):139-48. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9450.1990.tb00825.x.


Following substantial bleaches, the specific form and hue thresholds were measured during dark adaptation with a test stimulus of 1 x 2 degrees at 40 degrees extrafoveally. The wavelength of the test field was varied between runs. The results show that both thresholds started to rise at about the cone-rod break of the dark-adaptation curve, irrespective of wavelength used in the test. Furthermore, the specific threshold for form was found to rise when a scotopic stimulus was superimposed on a photopic test flash. On the other hand, both thresholds remained at the cone-plateau level when the test flash was confined within the rod-free fovea. In order to explain the rise in the specific thresholds, it is suggested that signals from rods generated directly in response to the test stimulus may suppress both cone-mediated form and colour. It is also suggested that this type of rod-cone interaction represents a general characteristic involved in several kinds of visual information processing.

MeSH terms

  • Attention / physiology*
  • Color Perception / physiology*
  • Dark Adaptation / physiology*
  • Form Perception / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Photoreceptor Cells / physiology*
  • Sensory Thresholds / physiology