Color and brightness encoded in a common L- and M-cone pathway with expansive and compressive nonlinearities

A. Stockman, D. Petrova, G. B. Henning
2014 Journal of Vision  
Lights near 560 nm appear brighter when flickered, whereas lights near 520 or 650 nm appear yellower. Both effects are consistent with signal distortion within the visual pathway-brightness changes at an expansive nonlinearity, and hue shifts at a compressive one. We previously manipulated the distortion products generated by each nonlinearity to extract the temporal properties of stages of the L-and M-cone pathways that signal brightness and color before (early stages) and after (late stages)
more » ... fter (late stages) each nonlinearity. We find that the attenuation characteristics of the early and late stages are virtually identical in both pathways: The early temporal stage acts like a band-pass filter peaking at 10-15 Hz, while the late stage acts like low-pass filter with a cut-off frequency near 3 Hz. We propose a physiologically relevant model that accounts for the filter shapes and incorporates both nonlinearities within a common parvocellular pathway. The shape of the early band-pass filter is consistent with antagonism between center signals and more sluggish and delayed surround signals, while the late filter is consistent with a simple two-stage low-pass filter. Modeling suggests that the brightness change and hue shift are both initially caused by the half-wave rectification and partition of signals into ON and OFF components. However, the hue shift is probably caused by the additional effects of a later nonlinearity that compresses chromatic red and green signals. Plausible sites for the expansive half-wave rectifying nonlinearity are after surround antagonism, possibly from horizontal cells, but the compressive nonlinearity is likely to be after the late filter.
doi:10.1167/14.3.1 pmid:24591566 fatcat:iyxcpxu23jdkrcfni6bf6iioxa