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Journal Article

The spatial precision of macaque retinal ganglion cell responses in relation to vernier acuity in human observers


Wehrhahn,  C
Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Lee, B., Wehrhahn, C., Westheimer, G., & Kremers, J. (1995). The spatial precision of macaque retinal ganglion cell responses in relation to vernier acuity in human observers. Vision Research, 35(19), 2743-2758. doi:10.1016/0042-6989(95)00015-R.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-EC54-9
Responses of parafoveal macaque ganglion cells were measured as a function of the contrast and position of an edge flashed within their receptive fields. The goal was to determine the ability of different cell types to signal edge location. For comparison, parafoveal vernier thresholds of human observers were measured with pairs of flashed edges. Cells of the magnocellular (MC-) pathway gave larger responses than cells of the parvocellular (PC-) pathway. Neurometric analyses comparing a cell's response at different edge positions were performed. The positional signal from single MC-pathway cells was more precise than from PC-pathway cells, especially at lower contrasts. In a second analysis, based on the neurophysiological results, responses from a matrix of ganglion cells were generated. Using a simple model, vernier performance expected from such a matrix was predicted as a function of edge length and contrast. Again, the MC-pathway gave a more precise positional signal than the PC-pathway despite the latter's numerical advantage. At contrasts of 20 and below, only the MC-pathway would appear capable of supporting vernier performance with our stimuli. At higher contrasts either the MC- or PC-pathway could provide an adequate signal.