a1 Istituto di Neurofisiologia del CNR, via S. Zeno 51, Pisa, Italy
We have recorded steady-state PERGs from five macaque monkeys in response to red-green plaid patterns reversed sinusoidally in contrast. The patterns had either a pure luminance contrast (red-black, green-black, yellow-black), pure red-green color contrast, or a variable amount of luminance and color contrast. By varying the relative luminance of the red-to-total luminance (color ratio) of red-green patterns, a value could be obtained at which the PERG amplitude was either minimum or locally maximum, and the phase was most lagged. This value was very similar to that producing equiluminance in human observers, and was considered to be equiluminance for the monkey. The phase of the PERG to chromatic stimulus was systematically lagged compared with that to luminance stimuli, by an amount corresponding to about 10–20 ms under our experimental conditions. The variation of phase with temporal frequency suggested an apparent latency of about 80 ms for color contrast compared with 63 ms for luminance. These estimates were confirmed with separate measurements of transient PERGs to abrupt contrast reversal. As a function of temporal frequency, the chromatic PERG function was clearly low-pass with a cutoff around 15 Hz, whereas that to luminance was double-peaked and extended to higher temporal frequencies, around 30 Hz. For both luminance and chromatic stimuli, the amplitude of PERGs increases with increasing stimulus contrast. By summing vectorially the luminance and chromatic responses of appropriate contrasts, we were able to predict with accuracy the response as a function of color ratio. In two monkeys, the optic chiasm was sectioned sagittally causing total degeneration of ganglion cells in the nasal retina, without affecting the temporal retina (verified by histology). In these animals, there was a strong response to both luminance and chromatic patterns in the temporal retinae, but none to either type of pattern in the nasal retinae, suggesting that the PERG to both luminance and chromatic stimuli arises from the inner-retinal layers. Electrophysiological studies suggest that the PERG to chromatic stimuli is probably associated with the activity of P-cells. P-cells may also make a major contribution to the PERG of luminance stimuli, although M-cells may also participate. The above findings on normal monkeys all agree with those reported in the accompanying paper for humans (Morrone et al., 1994), so similar conclusions can probably be extended to human PERG.
(Received November 15 1993)
(Accepted February 24 1994)
Reprint requests to: David C. Burr, Istituto di Neurofisiologia del CNR, via S. Zeno 51, Pisa, Italy.
Concetta Morrone is also at the Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa.
David C. Burr is also at the Dipartimento di Psicologia, Università di Roma.