B. J. Jennings, J. Martinovic


1534-7362 (Electronic) 1534-7362 (Linking)

Publication year



J Vis

Periodical Number





Author Address

School of Psychology, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK.

Full version

We investigated the interdependence of activity within the luminance (L + M) and opponent chromatic (L – M and S – [L + M]) postreceptoral mechanisms in mid-level and high-level vision. Mid-level processes extract contours and perform figure-background organization whereas high-level processes depend on additional semantic input, such as object knowledge. We collected mid-level (good/poor continuation) and high-level (object/nonobject) two-alternative forced-choice discrimination threshold data over a range of conditions that isolate mechanisms or simultaneously stimulate them. The L – M mechanism drove discrimination in the presence of very low luminance inputs. Contrast-dependent interactions between the luminance and L – M as well as combined L – M and S – (L + M) inputs were also found, but S – (L + M) signals, on their own, did not interact with luminance. Mean mid-level and high-level thresholds were related, with luminance providing inputs capable of sustaining performance over a broader, linearly corresponding range of contrasts when compared to L – M signals. The observed interactions are likely to be driven by L – M signals and relatively low luminance signals (approximately 0.05-0.09 L + M contrast) facilitating each other. The results are consistent with previous findings on low-level interactions between chromatic and luminance signals and demonstrate that functional interdependence between the geniculate mechanisms extends to the highest stages of the visual hierarchy.