In primary visual cortex fMRI responses to chromatic and achromatic stimuli are interdependent and predict contrast detection thresholds

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Chromatic and achromatic signals in primary visual cortex have historically been considered independent of each other but have since shown evidence of interdependence. Here, we investigated the combination of two components of a stimulus; an achromatic dynamically changing check background and a chromatic (L-M or S cone) target grating. We found that combinations of chromatic and achromatic signals in primary visual cortex were interdependent, with the dynamic range of responses to chromatic contrast decreasing as achromatic contrast increased. A contrast detection threshold study also revealed interdependence of background and target, with increasing chromatic contrast detection thresholds as achromatic background contrast increased. A model that incorporated a normalising effect of achromatic contrast on chromatic responses, but not vice versa, best predicted our V1 data as well as behavioural thresholds. Further along the visual hierarchy, the dynamic range of chromatic responses was maintained when compared to achromatic responses, which became increasingly compressive.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108398
Number of pages13
JournalVision Research
Early online date29 Mar 2024
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2024

Bibliographical note

© 2024 The Author(s).


  • Humans
  • Color Perception/physiology
  • Contrast Sensitivity
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Primary Visual Cortex
  • Photic Stimulation

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