Retinal spatiotemporal dynamics on emergence of visual persistence and afterimages.

Visual persistence (stimulus perception that prolongs for a few milliseconds after the physical disappearance of the stimulus) and afterimages (an illusory percept that lingers after the physical disappearance of the stimulus at the retinotopic location of the preceding stimulus) are classic perceptual phenomena reflecting temporal characteristics of the visual system. These phenomena are modulated by some common stimulus aspects: A longer stimulus generates shorter persistence and a longer afterimage and a lower spatial-frequency stimulus generates shorter persistence and a stronger afterimage. The current study proposes that these spatiotemporal characteristics of visual persistence and afterimages can be explained by a generic retinal processing architecture. Wilson (1997) developed a neural network model of retinal circuitry and demonstrated that afterimages emerge due to a retinal light-adaptive gain control mechanism. In this study, we provide an overview of the retinal physiology to assess the feasibility of his retinal model, and simulate psychophysical experiments on persistence and afterimages in the same model to provide systematic explanations to the stimulus duration and spatial frequency effects. Our results suggest that these characteristics emerge from the spatiotemporal characteristics of each cell (response gain and time course, receptive-field structure) that comprises a part of the feedforward-feedback laminar network in the retina. The retinal circuitry performs short- and long-term adaptive operations as the signal transmission is recurrently regulated by various feedback mechanisms and consequently engenders complicated spatiotemporal dynamics in the ganglion cell responses that match the patterns of the perceptual phenomena. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)