The small- and large-field (cone) horizontal cells produce similar dynamic responses to a stimulus whose mean luminance is modulated by a white-noise signal. Nonlinear components increase with an increase in the mean luminance and may produce a mean square error (MSE) of up to 15%. Increases in the mean luminance of the field stimulus bring about three major changes: the incremental sensitivity defined by the amplitude of the kernels decreases in a Weber-Fechner fashion; the waveforms of the kernels are transformed from monophasic (integrating) to biphasic (differentiating); the peak response time of the kernels becomes shorter and the cells respond to much higher-frequency inputs. The dynamics of the horizontal cell response also depend on the area of the retina stimulated. Smaller spots of light produce monophasic kernels of a longer peak response time. The presence of a steady background produces three major changes in the spot kernels: the kernel's amplitude becomes larger (incremental sensitivity increases); the peak response times become shorter; the waveform of the kernels changes in a fashion similar to that observed with an increase in the mean luminance of the field stimulus. A similar enhancement in the incremental sensitivity by a steady background has also been observed in catfish, which shows that this phenomenon is a common feature of the horizontal cells in the lower vertebrate retina.

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