Linkage between retinal ganglion cell density and the nonuniform spatial integration across the visual field

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
MiYoung Kwon, Rong Liu


The ability to integrate visual information over space is a fundamental component of human pattern vision. Regardless of whether it is for detecting luminance contrast or for recognizing objects in a cluttered scene, the position of the target in the visual field governs the size of a window within which visual information is integrated. Here we analyze the relationship between the topographic distribution of ganglion cell density and the nonuniform spatial integration across the visual field. The extent of spatial integration for luminance detection (Ricco's area) and object recognition (crowding zone) are measured at various target locations. The number of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) underlying Ricco's area or crowding zone is estimated by computing the product of Ricco's area (or crowding zone) and RGC density for a given target location. We find a quantitative agreement between the behavioral data and the RGC density: The variation in the sampling density of RGCs across the human retina is closely matched to the variation in the extent of spatial integration required for either luminance detection or object recognition. Our empirical data combined with the simulation results of computational models suggest that a fixed nu...Continue Reading


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Cell Density
Photic Stimulation
Retinal Ganglion Cells
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Visual Fields
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