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Spatial frequency and visual persistence: Cortical reset

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image of Spatial Vision
For more content, see Multisensory Research and Seeing and Perceiving.

Psychophysical studies show that the duration of visual persistence increases with spatial frequency of gratings. Previous theories ascribe this finding to differences between the spatial and temporal properties of sustained and transient pathways. This paper proposes an alternative account that explains persistence as a side-effect of excitatory feedback in neural circuits for contour extraction. Mechanisms to break excitatory feedback include inhibitory reset signals at stimulus offset. Simulations demonstrate how gratings with lower spatial frequency generate stronger inhibitory reset signals, thereby resulting in shorter persistence for lower spatial frequencies. Additional simulations account for interactions of spatial frequency with stimulus duration, effects of adaptation, and properties of residual traces, as opposed to visual persistence.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychological Sciences, Purdue University, 1364 Psychological Sciences Building, West Lafayette, IN 47907-1364, USA


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