Disappearance of grating induction at scotopic luminances

Mark E. McCourt

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15 Scopus citations


The dependence of grating induction magnitude on retinal illuminance was examined in two subjects. Grating induction magnitude, as determined using the cancellation technique of McCourt (Vision Research, 22, 119-134, 1982), declines monotonically with decreasing retinal illuminance, effectively disappearing at a value of 0.3-0.5 phot td. In a second experiment, sensitivity differences for test lights of 500 and 600 nm were measured as a function of background illuminance in order to gauge the luminance operating range for grating induction with respect to duplex photoreceptor function. Cancelling contrast (and hence grating induction magnitude) fell below detection threshold contrast at retinal illuminances coinciding with the transition from photopic to scotopic visual function. In a third experiment, spatial contrast sensitivity was measured using both spatially extended (10°) and truncated (2°) sinewave gratings at frequencies below 2 c/deg, at three values of retinal illuminance. Illuminance values corresponded to those where grating induction magnitude was, as determined from the first experiment, either maximal, intermediate or negligible. Similar to grating induction, the strength of lateral inhibition, as indexed by the slope of the low-frequency decline in contrast sensitivity, is progressively reduced with decreasing retinal illuminance, particularly for the 2° field. There was, however, using the same criteria, evidence of lateral inhibition at a value of retinal illuminance which did not support grating induction. The implications of these results are discussed with respect to classical brightness contrast phenomena, recent neuroanatomical and neurophysiological evidence of segregated parvo- and magnocellular mediated contrast processing systems, and with results from previous studies of the grating induction effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-437
Number of pages7
JournalVision research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Brightness contrast
  • Grating induction
  • Lateral inhibition
  • Magnocellular
  • Parvocellular
  • Photopic
  • Retinal illuminance
  • Scotopic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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