Attentional modulation of temporal contrast sensitivity in human vision

PloS One
Isamu Motoyoshi


Recent psychophysical studies have shown that attention can alter contrast sensitivities for temporally broadband stimuli such as flashed gratings. The present study examined the effect of attention on the contrast sensitivity for temporally narrowband stimuli with various temporal frequencies. Observers were asked to detect a drifting grating of 0-40 Hz presented gradually in the peripheral visual field with or without a concurrent letter identification task in the fovea. We found that removal of attention by the concurrent task reduced the contrast sensitivity for gratings with low temporal frequencies much more profoundly than for gratings with high temporal frequencies and for flashed gratings. The analysis revealed that the temporal contrast sensitivity function had a more band-pass shape with poor attention. Additional experiments showed that this was also true when the target was presented in various levels of luminance noise. These results suggest that regardless of the presence of external noise, attention extensively modulates visual sensitivity for sustained retinal inputs.


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Related Concepts

Mental Concentration
Fixation, Ocular
Photic Stimulation
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Contrast Sensitivity

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