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Functional evidence for cone-specific connectivity in the human retina

By David J. Whitaker, Paul V. McGraw, Declan J. McKeefry and Chara Vakrou

Abstract

NoPhysiological studies of colour vision have not yet resolved the controversial issue of how chromatic opponency is constructed at a neuronal level. Two competing theories, the cone-selective hypothesis and the random-wiring hypothesis, are currently equivocal to the architecture of the primate retina. In central vision, both schemes are capable of producing colour opponency due to the fact that receptive field centres receive input from a single bipolar cell ¿ the so called `private line arrangement¿. However, in peripheral vision this single-cone input to the receptive field centre is lost, so that any random cone connectivity would result in a predictable reduction in the quality of colour vision. Behavioural studies thus far have indeed suggested a selective loss of chromatic sensitivity in peripheral vision. We investigated chromatic sensitivity as a function of eccentricity for the cardinal chromatic (L/M and S/(L + M)) and achromatic (L + M) pathways, adopting stimulus size as the critical variable. Results show that performance can be equated across the visual field simply by a change of scale (size). In other words, there exists no qualitative loss of chromatic sensitivity across the visual field. Critically, however, the quantitative nature of size dependency for each of the cardinal chromatic and achromatic mechanisms is very specific, reinforcing their independence in terms of anatomy and genetics. Our data provide clear evidence for a physiological model of primate colour vision that retains chromatic quality in peripheral vision, thus supporting the cone-selective hypothesis

Topics: Cardinal chromatic and achromatic mechanisms, Colour vision, Chromatic opponency, Chromatic sensitivity, Cone selective hypothesis, Random wiring hypothesis, Central vision, Peripheral vision
Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:bradscholars.brad.ac.uk:10454/2786
Provided by: Bradford Scholars

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