We extended our detection model of achromatic spatial vision (Rovamo, J., Mustonen, J., and Nasanen, R. (1994a). Modelling contrast sensitivity as a function of retinal illuminance and grating area. Vision Research, 34, 1301-1314) to colour vision by taking into account the fact that due to the spatio-chromatic opponency of retinal ganglion cells and dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (dLGN) neurons, equiluminous chromatic gratings are not affected by precortical lateral inhibition. We then tested the extended model by using Mullen's experimental data (Mullen, K. J. (1985). The contrast sensitivity of human color vision to red-green and blue-yellow chromatic gratings. Journal of Physiology, 359, 381-400). The band-pass shape of the spatial contrast sensitivity function for luminance-modulated green and yellow gratings transformed to a low-pass shape, resembling the chromatic spatial contrast sensitivity function for red-green and blue-yellow equiluminous gratings, when the effect of precortical lateral inhibition on grating contrast was computationally removed by dividing luminance contrast sensitivities by spatial frequency (i.e. by af, where a = 1°). After the removal of this direct effect of lateral inhibition, there still remained a residual shape difference between the spatial contrast sensitivity functions for chromatic and luminance gratings. It was due to indirect reduction of grating visibility by quantal noise high-pass filtered by precortical lateral inhibition. When this indirect effect of quantal noise was also removed, contrast sensitivity for luminance gratings was about twice the sensitivity for chromatic gratings at all spatial frequencies. This was evidently due to the fact that the chromatic contrast of the equiluminous grating at the opponent stage (Cole, G. R., Hine, T. and McIihagga, W. (1993). Detection mechanisms in L-, M-, and S-cone contrast space. Journal of the Optical Society of America A, 10, 38-51) was about half of the luminance contrast of either of its chromatic component. Thus, if the contrast of the equiluminous chromatic grating were not expressed as the Michelson contrast of one chromatic component grating against its own background (Mullen, K. J. (1985). The contrast sensitivity of human color vision to red-green and blue-yellow chromatic gratings. Journal of Physiology, 359, 381-400) but as chromatic contrast at the opponent stage, contrast sensitivity would be the same for chromatic and luminance gratings.
Rovamo, J. M., Kankaanpää, M. I., & Kukkonen, H. (1999). Modelling spatial contrast sensitivity functions for chromatic and luminance-modulated gratings. Vision Research, 39(14), 2387–2398. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0042-6989(98)00273-9