We studied effects of dark adaptation on spatial and temporal tuning for motion coherence detection. We compared tuning for step size and delay for moving random pixel arrays (RPAs) at two adaptation levels, one light adapted (50 cd/m2) and the other relatively dark adapted (0.05 cd/m2). To study coherence detection rather than contrast detection, RPAs were scaled for equal contrast detection at each luminance level, and a signal-to-noise ratio paradigm was used in which the RPA is always at a fixed, supra-threshold contrast level. The noise consists of a spatio-temporally incoherent RPA added to the moving RPA on a pixel-by-pixel basis. Spatial and temporal limits for coherence detection were measured using a single step pattern lifetime stimulus, in which patterns on alternate frames make a coherent step and are being refreshed. Therefore, the stimulus contains coherent motion at a single combination of step size and delay only. The main effect of dark adaptation is a large shift in step size, slightly less than the adjustment of spatial scale required for maintaining equal contrast sensitivity. A similar change of preferred step size occurs also for scaled stimuli at a light-adapted level, indicating that the spatial effect is not directly linked to dark adaptation, but more generally related to changes in the available low-level spatial information. Dark-adaptation shifts temporal tuning by about a factor of 2. Long delays are more effective at low luminance levels, whereas short delays no longer support motion coherence detection. Luminance-invariant velocity tuning curves, as reported previously [Lankheet, M.J.M., van Doorn, A.J., Bouman, M.A., & van de Grind, W.A. (2000) Motion coherence detection as a function of luminance in human central vision. Vision Research, 40, 3599-3611], result from recruitment of different sets of motion detectors, and an adjustment of their temporal properties. © 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Lankheet, M. J. M., Van Doorn, A. J., & Van De Grind, W. A. (2002). Spatio-temporal tuning of motion coherence detection at different luminance levels. Vision Research, 42(1), 65–73. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0042-6989(01)00265-6