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Data from: Dichoptic metacontrast masking functions to infer transmission delay in optic neuritis

Cite this dataset

Bruchmann, Maximilian et al. (2017). Data from: Dichoptic metacontrast masking functions to infer transmission delay in optic neuritis [Dataset]. Dryad.


Optic neuritis (ON) has detrimental effects on the transmission of neuronal signals generated at the earliest stages of visual information processing. The amount, as well as the speed of transmitted visual signals is impaired. Measurements of visual evoked potentials (VEP) are often implemented in clinical routine. However, the specificity of VEPs is limited because multiple cortical areas are involved in the generation of P1 potentials, including feedback signals from higher cortical areas. Here, we show that dichoptic metacontrast masking can be used to estimate the temporal delay caused by ON. A group of 15 patients with unilateral ON, nine of which had sufficient visual acuity and volunteered to participate, and a group of healthy control subjects (N = 8) were presented with flashes of gray disks to one eye and flashes of gray annuli to the corresponding retinal location of the other eye. By asking subjects to report the subjective visibility of the target (i.e. the disk) while varying the stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA) between disk and annulus, we obtained typical U-shaped masking functions. From these functions we inferred the critical SOAmax at which the mask (i.e. the annulus) optimally suppressed the visibility of the target. ON-associated transmission delay was estimated by comparing the SOAmax between conditions in which the disk had been presented to the affected and the mask to the other eye, and vice versa. SOAmax differed on average by 28 ms, suggesting a reduction in transmission speed in the affected eye. Compared to previously reported methods assessing perceptual consequences of altered neuronal transmission speed the presented method is more accurate as it is not limited by the observers’ ability to judge subtle variations in perceived synchrony.

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