Disappearance of stabilized chromatic gratings

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Science  11 Dec 1981:
Vol. 214, Issue 4526, pp. 1257-1258
DOI: 10.1126/science.7302596


When the image of a stationary, sinusoidal luminance grating is stabilized on the retina of a human subject, he becomes unable to detect this stimulus at contrasts that are readily visible in normal, unstabilized vision. At much higher contrasts, such stabilized gratings can still be seen over most of the normal range of spatial frequencies, although the threshold contrast may be increased by as much as 20 or 30 times. When the analogous experiment is performed with an isoluminance chromatic grating, however, there is no contrast that can restore the visibility of the stabilized grating; the threshold elevations for stabilized chromatic gratings are too great to measure. Saturated red/green gratings fade out and disappear at 100 percent contrast (even where this is 45 times the unstabilized threshold), and they do not reappear as long as stabilization is maintained. Without some kind of temporal variation of the proximal stimulus, the opponent-color pathways apparently do not respond to spatial patterns.