The aim was to investigate the temporal response properties of magnocellular, parvocellular, and koniocellular visual pathways using increment/decrement changes in contrast to elicit visual evoked potentials (VEPs). Static achromatic and isoluminant chromatic gratings were generated on a monitor. Chromatic gratings were modulated along red/green (R/G) or subject-specific tritanopic confusion axes, established using a minimum distinct border criterion. Isoluminance was determined using minimum flicker photometry. Achromatic and chromatic VEPs were recorded to contrast increments and decrements of 0.1 or 0.2 superimposed on the static gratings (masking contrast 0-0.6). Achromatic increment/decrement changes in contrast evoked a percept of apparent motion when the spatial frequency was low; VEPs to such stimuli were positive in polarity and largely unaffected by high levels of static contrast, consistent with transient response mechanisms. VEPs to finer achromatic gratings showed marked attenuation as static contrast was increased. Chromatic VEPs to R/G or tritan chromatic contrast increments were of negative polarity and showed progressive attenuation as static contrast was increased, in keeping with increasing desensitization of the sustained responses of the color-opponent visual pathways. Chromatic contrast decrement VEPs were of positive polarity and less sensitive to pattern adaptation. The relative contribution of sustained/transient mechanisms to achromatic processing is spatial frequency dependent. Chromatic contrast increment VEPs reflect the sustained temporal response properties of parvocellular and koniocellular pathways. Cortical VEPs can provide an objective measure of pattern adaptation and can be used to probe the temporal response characteristics of different visual pathways. Copyright © 2012 Cambridge University Press.
- Color vision
- Visual evoked potential