Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Vision Science

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Erwin Wong, OD, PhD


Brian Vandenberg

Bachman, W. Gary

Meriac, John


Purpose: The temporal characteristics of dichoptic contrast integration across space in primary visual cortex are relatively unknown. This study investigated the effect of varying interstimulus interval (ISI) and flank duration on contrast detection threshold (CDT) of a sinusoid target under monoptic, dichoptic and half-binocular viewing. Methods: Eleven subjects with normal vision participated for a mean of 25 hours each. In the main experiment, target and flanks were 3 cpd vertical sinusoids with 6 lambda (sigma = 1.5 lambda) center-to-center vertical separation. Flank contrast was normalized to 3X flank CDT. Flanks were presented at 4 durations (67-500ms) and ISIs were presented at 8 durations (0-2500ms) resulting in 0-3000ms stimulus onset asynchronies (SOA). Target presentations were 250ms to dominant eye using a mirror haploscope and septum. Flanks were presented to dominant (monoptic and half-binocular) and non-dominant eyes (dichoptic and half-binocular). Forward masking was used throughout with a 1-FC detection paradigm and 7-level MOCS. Each target CDT was the product of approximately 700 trials. Results: As expected, simultaneous presentation resulted in CDT facilitation (monoptic = 19%± 3.86% (SE), dichoptic = 13.9%± 4.00%, half-binocular = 18.0%± 4.20%). For all viewing conditions, relative facilitation decreased as SOA increased up to 1000ms. Unexpectedly, dichoptic flanks produced significant CDT suppression (p < 0.05) at 500-1000ms SOAs that was maximal at the 1000ms SOA (9.9%± 5.1%). All viewing conditions approached no effect at the longest SOAs (1500-3000ms). Flank duration had a significantly greater contribution to the overall effect than ISI for monoptic (p < 0.01) and half-binocular (p < 0.05) viewing. Discussion: The collinear CDT facilitation produced by intra-ocular and inter-ocular flanks at shorter SOAs is consistent with lateral connections in primary visual cortex. The temporal aspects of longer SOA, dichoptic CDT suppression observed in this study are consistent with prior studies of illusory contour perception. Conclusion: I propose the novel hypothesis that the CDT suppression produced by dichoptic collinear flanks at longer SOAs is due to one-way, contrast adaptation from lateral propagation that produced the effect of a collinear, illusory contour. This hypothesis was supported by the results of a supplemental, orthogonal flank experiment.

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