Objective: Little is known about the physiological properties of the major components of steady-state visual evoked potentials (VEPs). Based on the hypothesis that isoluminant color and high contrast pattern differentially activate the parvo- and magnocellular pathways, we studied difference in spatial frequency function between chromatic and achromatic VEPs to sinusoidal gratings.Methods: Steady-state VEPs to isoluminant chromatic (red-green) and high contrast (90%) achromatic (black-white) sinusoidal gratings with nine spatial frequencies (0.5 to 8.0 cycles/°(cpd)) at 4 Hz (8 reversals/s) were recorded in 13 normal subjects. VEPs were Fourier analyzed to obtain phase and amplitude of the second (2F) and fourth (4F) harmonic responses.Results: The 2F amplitude of chromatic VEPs decreased above 4.0 cpd in a low-pass function while that of achromatic VEPs showed a band-pass function with a peak at 4.0 cpd. The 4F amplitude of chromatic VEPs was not affected significantly by spatial frequency whereas that of achromatic VEPs exhibited a high-pass function. The phases of 2F and 4F showed a non-monotonic function of spatial frequency in both chromatic and achromatic stimuli with peaks at middle spatial frequencies.Conclusion: Chromatic and achromatic visual stimuli differently affected 2F and 4F components, which thus suggests that 2F and 4F components are generated from different neuronal subgroups largely in the parvocellular pathway. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.
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