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Interocular interactions reveal the opponent structure of motion mechanisms

Interactions between motion sensors tuned to the same and to opposite directions were probed by means of measuring summation indexes for sensitivities (d') to contrast increments and/or decrements applied to drifting gratings presented in binocular and in dichoptic vision. The data confirm a phenomenon described by Stromeyer, Kronauer, Madsen & Klein (1984, J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 1, 876-884), whereby opposite polarity contrast changes applied to binocular gratings drifting in opposite directions yield sensitivities significantly higher than same sign changes for which performance complies with probability summation (PS). The effect disappears in dichoptic vision where opposite sign contrast changes yield a performance close to, or below PS, whether they are applied to same or to opposite direction stimuli. Same sign changes in dichoptic drifting stimuli yield a performance higher than PS independently of their relative directions and close to the performances obtained when these same sign changes are applied to dichoptic, static +/- 45 degrees gratings. Opposite sign changes applied to such static gratings yield PS. The data support the view according to which: (i) motion direction is extracted at the monocular site; (ii) motion sensors exhibit mutual inhibition within each eye when tuned to opposite directions; and (iii) binocular summation when tuned to the same direction. The data also suggest that (iv) independently of their directional tuning, all motion sensors converge on a binocular, motion non-specific ('flicker') unit; and that (v) signals carried by ON and OFF pathways are slightly inhibitory to each other.



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