Enchancement of luminance flicker by color-opponent mechanisms

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Science  10 Aug 1979:
Vol. 205, Issue 4406, pp. 587-589
DOI: 10.1126/science.109925


Color-opponent ganglion cells in the monkey retina respond to luminance flicker at high temporal frequencies. Color opponency, which makes these cells so selective of wavelength at low temporal frequencies, is progressively lost at high frequencies. This loss is due to a frequency-dependent phase shift between the responses of spectrally different center and surround mechanisms in the receptive field of each of these cells. Center and surround responses, which are antagonistic at low temporal frequencies, become synergistic at high ones, making these cells most responsive at high frequencies to those wavelengths to which they are least responsive at low frequencies. This phenomenon can explain the differences between chromatic and luminance flicker in human vision.