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Gain, Noise, and Contrast Sensitivity of Linear Visual Neurons

A. Watson
Journal / Anthology

Visual Neuroscience
Year: 1990
Volume: 4
Page range: 147-157

Contrast sensitivity is a measure of the ability of an observer to detect contrast signals of particular spatial and temporal frequencies. A formal definition of contrast sensitivity that can be applied to individual linear visual neurons is derived. A neuron is modeled by a contrast transfer function and its modulus, contrast gain, and by a noise power spectrum. The distributions of neural responses to signal and blank presentations are derived, and from these, a definition of contrast sensitivity is obtained. This formal definition may be used to relate the sensitivities of various populations of neurons, and to relate the sensitivities of neurons to that of the behaving animal. Key words: Contrast sensitivity, Maintained discharge, Noise, Signal detection theory, Linear systems, Power spectrum; significant use

*Science > Biology