Features of the Human Rod Bipolar Cell ERG Response During Fusion of Scotopic Flicker

in Seeing and Perceiving
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The ability of the eye to distinguish between intermittently presented flash stimuli is a measure of the temporal resolution of vision. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between the features of the human rod bipolar cell response (as measured from the scotopic ERG b-wave) and the psychophysically measured critical fusion frequency (CFF). Stimuli consisted of dim (∼0.04 Td ⋅ s), blue flashes presented either singly, or as flash pairs (at a range of time separations, between 5 and 300 ms). Single flashes of double intensity (∼0.08 Td ⋅ s) were also presented as a reference. Visual responses to flash pairs were measured via (1) recording of the ERG b-wave, and (2) threshold determinations of the CFF using a two-alternative forced-choice method (flicker vs. fused illumination). The results of this experiment suggest that b-wave responses to flash pairs separated by <100 ms are electrophysiologically similar to those obtained with single flashes of double intensity. Psychophysically, the percepts of flash pairs <100 ms apart appeared fused. In conclusion, the visual system’s ability to discriminate between scotopic stimuli may be determined by the response characteristics of the rod bipolar cell, or perhaps by the rod photoreceptor itself.

Features of the Human Rod Bipolar Cell ERG Response During Fusion of Scotopic Flicker

in Seeing and Perceiving

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Figures

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    (A) Family of b-wave responses to scotopic flashes of 9 different intensities. (B) Plot of the b-wave peak amplitude as a function of flash intensity. Subject in both panels J.S.L. The solid black curve indicates the Naka–Rushton saturation function (rrmax=Q(Q+Q0), rmax=130 µV, and Q0=0.12 Tds), and the dashed grey line its linear asymptote.

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    Series of b-wave responses to single flashes (of ∼0.04 Td ⋅ s and ∼0.08 Td ⋅ s) and flash pairs (of ∼0.04 Td ⋅ s) presented at ISIs of 5–300 ms. Subject T.D.L.

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    Bar graph of the mean (± SEM) area under the b-wave curves for single flashes (S = ∼0.04 Td ⋅ s and D = ∼0.08 Td ⋅ s) and flash pairs separated by 5–300 ms. Combined results for 5 subjects.

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    Bar graph of the mean (±SEM) b-wave time-to-peak; Left panel plots results for single flashes (S = ∼0.04 Td ⋅ s and D = ∼0.08 Td ⋅ s) and short ISI (5–50 ms) flash pairs, measured from the onset of the first flash (white bars), as well as from the mid-point between the 1st and 2nd flashes (grey bars); The right panel plots results for the long ISI (100–300 ms) flash pairs, with the time-to-peak measurements referenced to the onset of each flash (1st and 2nd). Combined results for 5 subjects.

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    Series of curves representing the full response to a standard flash, the residual response to the double intensity flash, and the residual response for flash pairs presented at ISIs of 5–300 ms. Subject T.D.L.

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    Bar graphs of the mean (±SEM) amplitude for full standard flash responses (S = ∼0.04 Td ⋅ s), residual double intensity flash responses (D = ∼0.08 Td ⋅ s), and residual responses to flash pairs separated by 5–300 ms. Combined results for 5 subjects.

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    Subjects’ perceptions of flash pairs for ISI ranging from 5–300 ms. The CFF threshold occurred between 50–100 ms, where stimuli appeared fused on 50% of trials.

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