Phillips W & Singer W (1974) Function and interaction of on and off transients in vision I. Psychophysics. Experimental Brain Research, 19 (5), pp. 493-506. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00236113
Psychophysical experiments were conducted to determine the conditions under which human observers can detect small differences between two successively presented random-dot patterns. The inter-stimulus interval (ISI) varied from 20 to 500 msec. It was found that the appearance of an additional light spot in the second pattern was detectable with ISIs of up to 120 msec. The disappearance of a light spot from the first pattern was detectable with ISIs up to 60 msec. Decreasing the exposure duration of the first pattern worsened the detection of appearance but improved the detection of disappearance. In contrast, decreasing the exposure duration of the second pattern improved the detection of appearance but worsened the detection of disappearance. If the first pattern was presented to one eye and the second pattern to the other under conditions of binocular fusion neither appearance nor disappearance could be detected at any ISI. The results are interpreted as evidence that the transient neural response to the onset of a stimulus is significantly affected by the offset of that stimulus within the preceding 120 msec, and that the transient neural response to the offset of a stimulus is significantly affected by the onset of that stimulus within the following 60 msec. It is suggested that reciprocal inhibition between on- and off-activity could account for these results.
Experimental Brain Research: Volume 19, Issue 5