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Journal of Vision





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It has been long known that prolonging stimulus duration may increase the perceived brightness of a visual stimulus. The interaction between intensity and duration generally follows a rule, such as that described in Bloch's law. This visual temporal integration relationship has been identified in human subjects and in non-human primates. However, although auditory temporal integration has been extensively studied in the cat, visual temporal integration has not. Therefore, the goal of this study was to examine visual temporal integration in the cat. We trained five cats to respond when a brief luminance change was detected in a fixation dot. After training, we measured the success rate of detecting the luminance change with varying durations at threshold, subthreshold, and suprathreshold luminance levels. Psychometric functions showed that prolonging stimulus duration improved task performance, more noticeably for stimuli below 100 ms than beyond. Most psychometric functions were better fit to an exponential model than to a linear model. The gradually saturated performance observed here, as in previous studies, can be explained by the "leaky integrator" hypothesis, that is, temporal integration is only valid below a critical duration. Overall, we developed a task whereby visual temporal integration was successfully demonstrated in the cat. The effect of stimulus duration on detection success rate displayed a pattern generally consistent with previous human and non-human primate findings on visual temporal integration.