The impulse response of S-cone pathways in detection of increments and decrements

Keizo Shinomori, John S Werner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Impulse response functions (IRFs) were obtained from two-pulse detection thresholds using isoluminant stimuli that produced increments or decrements in S-cone excitation. The pulses were chromatically modulated at constant luminance (based on 18 Hz heterochromatic flicker photometry). Chromatic stimuli were presented as a Gaussian patch (±1 SD = 2.3°) in one of four quadrants around a central fixation cross on a CRT screen. Each of the two pulses (6.67 ms) was separated by an inter-stimulus interval (ISI) from 20 to 360 ms. Chromaticity of the pulses was changed from the equal-energy white of the background to a bluish or yellowish color along individually determined tritan lines (based on color matching under strong S-cone adaptation from a 420 nm background superimposed in Maxwellian view). Chromatic detection thresholds were determined by a four-alternative forced-choice method with staircases for each ISI interleaved in each session. Measurements were repeated in at least four sessions for each observer. IRFs were calculated by varying four parameters of an exponentially-damped sinewave. Both S-cone increment and decrement IRFs are characterized by a single excitatory phase and a much longer time course compared with IRFs derived for luminance modulation using the same apparatus and observers. S-cone increment IRFs are faster than S-cone decrement IRFs; the time to peak amplitude of S-cone increment and decrement IRFs is 50-70 and 100-120 ms, respectively. These results were used to derive the temporal contrast sensitivity for human observers of putative ON- and OFF-channels carrying signals from S-cones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-347
Number of pages7
JournalVisual Neuroscience
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2008


  • Impulse response
  • Koniocellular pathway
  • ON- and OFF-pathways
  • S-cones
  • Temporal vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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