Temporal information processing in cones: effects of light adaptation on temporal summation and modulation

Vision Res. 1985;25(9):1197-206. doi: 10.1016/0042-6989(85)90034-3.


We have studied the temporal information processing of turtle cones in steady states of light adaptation using intracellular recording techniques. We measured the linear range incremental sensitivity of cones as a function of the stimulus duration. Linear range incremental sensitivity is a function of the background intensity. It is also proportional to the duration of short duration stimuli but is independent of duration for long duration stimuli. The plot of log sensitivity versus log stimulus duration displays two straight line asymptotes; a slope of one for short durations and a slope of zero for long durations. These asymptotes intersect at a time, the critical duration, which decreases with increasing background intensity. Linear systems theory was used to predict these results in addition to the interdependence of critical duration, response kinetics, and sensitivity for any state of adaptation. We have also calculated cone sensitivity as a function of sinusoidal frequency for a variety of background intensities. Correlations between these results and psychophysical studies suggest that the limits on temporal summation established by the cones appear not to be substantially altered by the rest of the retina.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Ocular*
  • Animals
  • Dark Adaptation
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual
  • Kinetics
  • Light
  • Photoreceptor Cells / physiology*
  • Psychophysics
  • Time Factors
  • Turtles