Orientation-selective contrast adaptation measured with SSVEP

Mark Vergeer, Juraj Mesik, Yihwa Baek, Kelton Wilmerding, Stephen A. Engel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Exposure to oriented luminance contrast patterns causes a reduction in visual sensitivity specifically for the adapter orientation. This orientation selectivity is probably the most studied aspect of contrast adaptation, but it has rarely been measured with steady-state visually evoked potentials (SSVEPs), despite their becoming one of the more popular methods of human neuroscience. Here, we measured orientation selective adaptation by presenting a plaid stimulus of which the horizontal and vertical grating reversed contrast at different temporal frequencies, while recording EEG signals from occipital visual areas. In three experiments, we compared SSVEP responses to the plaid before and after adaptation. All experiments showed a significant decrease in SSVEP response at the frequency of the adapter orientation, whereas such an effect was absent for the frequency of the orthogonal orientation. Adaptation also led to robust phase delays, selectively for the SSVEP frequency corresponding to the adapter orientation. These results demonstrate the efficiency of SSVEPs for measuring orientation selective adaptation; the method can measure changes in both amplitude and phase, simultaneously for two orientations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of vision
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by NSF grant BCS1558308.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Authors.


  • Contrast sensitivity
  • EEG
  • Visual adaptation
  • Visual cortex


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