Dean P, Horlock P, Strachan I M, 1981, "Meridional variation in visual acuity of hooded rats reared in a carpentered environment" Perception 10(4) 423 – 430
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Meridional variation in visual acuity of hooded rats reared in a carpentered environment
Paul Dean, Phillip Horlock, Ian M Strachan
Received 29 October 1980, in revised form 24 May 1981
Abstract. Resolution acuity in people is frequently better for horizontal and vertical gratings than for obliques. An animal model of this oblique effect might be of help in elucidating its underlying neural mechanisms. Rats were chosen because laboratory rats are reared in a 'carpentered environment' apparently similar to those proposed to cause the oblique effect in people, and because electrophysiological experiments suggest that orientation selective units in rats' visual cortex may prefer horizontal and vertical stimuli. The acuity of eight laboratory-reared hooded rats was measured with high-contrast horizontal, vertical, and oblique gratings. The animals learned to detect low-frequency square-wave gratings with slightly fewer errors if they were horizontal or vertical than if they were oblique, but the effects of grating orientation on acuity were not significant. Refraction of the rats' eyes gave no evidence of astigmatism. These results suggest that the rat may not be a good animal model for studying the mechanisms that underlie meridional variations in acuity in people, and raise questions concerning both the neural bases of resolution acuity, and the validity of the 'carpentered environment' hypothesis.
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