Signals from Single-Opponent Cortical Cells in the Human cVEP

Valerie Nunez, James Gordon, Robert Shapley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We used the chromatic visual evoked potential (cVEP) to study responses in human visual cortex evoked by equiluminant color stimuli for 6 male and 11 female observers. Large-area, colored squares were used to stimulate Single-Opponent cells preferentially, and fine color-checkerboard stimuli were used to activate Double-Opponent responses preferentially. Stimuli were modulated along the following two directions in color space: (1) the cardinal direction, L-M or M-L of DKL (Derrington, Krauskopf, and Lennie) space; and (2) the line from the white point to the color of the Red LED in the display screen, which was approximately intermediate between the L-M and -S directions in DKL space in cone-contrast coordinates. The amplitudes of cVEPs to large squares were smaller than those to checkerboards, and the latency of the cVEP response to squares was significantly less than the checkerboard latency. The latency of cVEP responses to the squares varied little with cone-contrast unlike the steep reduction of latency with cone-contrast observed in responses to color checkerboard patterns. The dynamic differences between cVEPs to squares and checkerboards support the hypothesis that a distinct neuronal mechanism responded to squares: Single-Opponent cells. Response amplitude, latency, and transientness-and their dependence on cone-contrast-were similar in the responses in the L-M and Red color directions. The similarity supports the hypothesis that the Single-Opponent signals in the cVEP come from a distinct population of cells that receives subtractive inputs from L and M cones, either L-M or M-L.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT This article is about characterizing the visual behavior of a distinct population of neurons in the human visual cortex, the Single-Opponent color cells. Based on single-cell results in the visual cortex of macaque monkeys, we used large uniformly colored stimuli to isolate the responses of Single-Opponent cells in the chromatic visual evoked potential (cVEP) recorded on the scalp of human observers. VEP signals recorded under conditions believed to reveal Single-Opponent responses are small and transient. Their time course is relatively unaffected by cone-contrast, and they are relatively insensitive to stimulus modulation of short wavelength-sensitive S cones. Because Single-Opponent cells convey signals that can be used to judge the color of scene illumination, knowing their visual properties is important for understanding color vision.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4380-4393
Number of pages14
JournalThe Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience
Volume42
Issue number21
DOIs
StatePublished - May 25 2022

Keywords

  • color perception
  • cVEP
  • double-opponent cells
  • human visual cortex
  • Single-Opponent cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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