Attentional states and the degree of visual adaptation to gratings

Yariv Festman, Merav Ahissar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


We studied top-down attentional effects on adaptation to two aspects of sinusoidal gratings: contrast (CTE: contrast threshold elevation for detection) and orientation (TAE: tilt aftereffect, bias in perceived orientation). Adaptation was examined under five different behavioral conditions designed to assess the effect of alertness, spatial attention and the dimension attended. Alertness increased CTE, but had no effect on TAE. Spatial attention increased TAE, but had no effect on CTE. TAE (but not CTE) was also sensitive to the attended dimension. It was greater when gratings' contrast rather than orientation was attended. The different patterns of top-down effects on CTE compared with TAE are consistent with these two types of adaptation taking place at different levels along the visual hierarchy: CTE occurs at very low-levels, where activity is affected by alertness but not by spatial attention, whereas TAE occurs at subsequent stages, which are modulated by selective attention.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)849-860
Number of pages12
JournalNeural Networks
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Jun 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a center-of-excellence grant from the Israeli Science Foundation.


  • Attention
  • Contrast threshold elevation
  • Gratings
  • Neural population
  • Orientation tuning
  • Pattern adaptation
  • Psychophysics
  • Spatial frequency selectivity
  • Tilt aftereffect

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