Effects of Luminance and Flicker on Ocular Dominance Shift in Kitten Visual Cortex.
BROWN UNIV PROVIDENCE RI
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We raised monocularly deprived kittens in visual environments with low level illumination that was either steady or flickering. With steady scotopic luminance ocular dominance shifted as it does in normal photopic lighting. In flickering light with an average frequency of 2Hz there was virtually no ocular dominance shift, while in flickering light averaging 0.1 Hz there was a significant shift. Recordings from the 2Hz flicker-reared are similar to the darkreared recordings. The flickering illumination was produced in one case by a high contrast-low brightness TV near the cage, and in another case, by a low voltage incandescent bulb driven by a pseudo-random sequence generator. This circuit delivered either a maximum ON time of 1.7 sec. or a maximum of 40 sec. for the 2Hz and 0.1 Hz respectively. Both the TV and flickering bulb produced average illumination comparable to the dim 0.01 cdsq m steady scotopic illumination. We conclude that dim flickering light is not a sufficient stimulus for promoting ocular dominance shift in kittens in the critical period unless the flicker rate approaches 0.1 Hz. Furthermore results from the TV rearing suggest that flicker may be capable of preventing an ocular dominance shift expected from a concurrent steady low light level background.